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I don’t like water and I’m not a huge fan of swimming. I can swim, but I’m not a strong swimmer and I don’t hold my breath under water or anything. I don’t even like my head being under water. But will aqua classes help with my pain?
Your head doesn’t go under water in aqua (well, not unless you fall over or something) so that was a bit of a dramatic opening few lines. But it certainly was a big thing for me to go to an aqua class. I wanted to increase my confidence in using* the gym before I faced my fears of putting on a swimming costume and climbing down the steps in to the pool. But no. Everyone keeps saying that swimming and/or aqua classes would be good for my muscles and my pain. I’ve been trying to beg to differ these past few weeks but even I was starting to convince myself that they were right.
So off to aqua class I went
I went with my partner who has been before, so she knew the drill and told me what to expect. I’m quite an anxious person anyway, and even more so since starting with chronic pain, so like to know what to expect. It was good to have some support at my first class, but I did notice a lot of the others were there on their own. Maybe I just over think things and worry too much.
We got changed and headed to the pool. I was hoping to get straight in the water so that I didn’t feel over conscious of being in a swimming costume, but the kids’ swimming lesson was still going so we had to wait. I settled on a lounger and apart from being in pain laying on a fairly hard surface, I could’ve easily convinced myself to stay there as an observer rather than a participant. We didn’t have to wait long before the dance music came on the speakers and It was time to get in the pool.
The lady taking the class asked if I’d been before and I said no. She checked that I could swim and asked if I had any injuries. I also said no. Sometimes this is just easier than trying to explain my pain and that I’ve got no coccyx.
Did I enjoy it?
To my surprise I had a really good time. It was a 45 minute session and for the majority of it, it didn’t feel like exercise. I felt more like a drunk frog. And it was great that no one could see me get 90% of the moves wrong, as the majority of my body was under water. But the main thing was that I was moving and stretching my muscles. I did moves that I haven’t done since the last time I was in a pool.
Afterwards my partner told me that the look on my face was completely different on the way to the gym to what it was on the way home. She said I looked so pleased with myself.
And I’m finally getting my money’s worth from my gym membership (find out more about this in my next blog post).
Do I think aqua classes will help my pain?
They certainly won’t help my coccyx pain. In relation to my neck pain, I don’t really know. I do think they will help improve my overall strength and stretch my muscles more than I can do out of water. So for me, it isn’t about helping my pain, it’s about doing what I can do to help myself to help me manage my pain.
I also know already that attending this class has benefitted me in other ways:
- It’s boosted my self-confidence by pushing myself out of my comfort zone.
- It’s given me something fun to do on a Monday evening.
- And although I’m not there yet, I will hopefully start to worry less about what others think.
And to me these other benefits are just as important as helping with the pain itself. It’s about improving your whole wellbeing and making yourself feel good. Chronic pain can feel lonely at times and you convince yourself that you can’t do certain things. You may have read my recent blog post about why we must not let chronic pain stop us doing the things we enjoy and how it’s so important to do stuff we love to do. Well it’s just as important to keep pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone and face our fears. This gives us that sense of achievement and that we won’t let our chronic pain stop us. And in the process we can push ourselves, get to try something new, and meet new people. Going to aqua classes is a big things for me, but boy am I pleased I did it. I’ve also committed to going the class next week too.
Have you tried aqua classes or any other new things to help with your pain? How did it make you feel?
* Just getting to