As requested, I’ve made a list of some of the exercises we did with Mark in the pool. I believe there were more, but unfortunately, I’ve forgotten.
1) With a foam kick board held at his chest, Mark would kick to the deep end of the pool. Once at the deep end he would hang onto the side of the pool and do more kicking.
2) While lying on his back, with arms straight out at shoulder height, he’d move straight arms in a circular motion.
3) While lying on his back, with arms straight down by his side he reached up as high as possible and then down towards his side again, repeating several times.
4) While lying on his back, with his legs straight and together, he would push outward and then back together, repeating several times.
5) Putting exercises #3 and #4 together, while lying on his back, he would move his arms and legs straight out and back in, like making a snow angel in water, repeating several times.
6) While lying on his back, with straight body, he would roll completely over. He always needed more assistance for this one.
7) Mark used the foam board again to kick to the shallow end of the pool.
8) With a walker put in the water, Mark would walk in the water.
For Mark’s safety, there was always a person on each side of him, but the water allowed for greater range of motion, helping his flexibility. Besides the mandatory swimming suit, Mark always wore a life jacket and water shoes to help maintain traction on the bottom of the pool.
There are water resistance gadgets to increase resistance for your hands, arms and legs. We never use any of them, but I’ve seen some fun devices like aqua barbells, resistant cuffs for the wrist, resistant hand mitts, and runners for the feet. A foam kick board and occasionally the foam noodles were all we used.
Mark enjoyed pool therapy a lot. Exercising in the water was much easier and less painful due to the buoyancy it provides. With the weight support of the water, he was able to completely concentrate on making the movements. The deeper the water, the greater the weight support. As he progressed he could walk with the walker in more shallow water. It was amazing how much better he did in the pool than he did in his regular physical therapy sessions.
Water also naturally keeps you cool as you exercise, so your body temperature remains steady with no danger of overheating, which is an added benefit. It’s just a great way to exercise!