PPS: Swimming & Aquatic Therapy
Eddie Bollenbach & James Donovan MD

From posts to the Post-Polio-Med Email List With Permissions

Eddie Bollenbach Bio & Picture

Date: Thu, 23 Dec 1999 12:58:32 EST
From: James Donovan
Subject: [PPM] Water Exercise

(I) Have been in aquatic program x 5yrs and it is the best for my PPS. Water temp. 79-83 is best for good workout. Plans must be set to each of us!

                    James Donovan MD

Date: Thu, 23 Dec 1999 13:32:06 -0500
From: "Eddie Bollenbach"
Subject: [PPM] Water Exercise

I too have found that water exercise is extremely good for PPS and that it must be balanced for each of us. As far as the exercise weakening muscles, I have found the opposite -- as long as you "listen" to your body. A couple of years ago I was swimming laps with one arm because my left shoulder got fatigued and sore. I slowly worked back to the point, over two years, where I am swimming 2 K (about a mile and a fifth), often doing flip turns, and finishing in 39-40 minutes at a heart rate of 160-170 (but usually less...140). I only do this 3X per week and the pauses allow for recovery (for me). The water is usually about 82. This temperature will cause muscle soreness in people who need to be more sedentary in their exercises. The less you can do the warmer the water should be, is a good rule.

The level of exercise described above is certainly not for everyone. Prior to PPS I functioned normally. Now I use a power scooter because my legs ache and fatigue easily. But I also can exercise at a level unavailable to most "able bodied" 53 year olds. The aerobic conditioning erases the need for naps and has allowed me to function normally at my teaching and other work responsibilities at my college. It has eliminated the uncomfortable coldness in my lower right limb. This effect came with the higher levels of exercise. The proverbial PPS proscription against exercise really has to be examined on an individual basis. Deconditioning can really exacerbate PPS fatigue, in my view, to the point where you don't know which is causing the problems. Exercise has given me more relief than anything else I have tried.

Contact Professor Edward P. Bollenbach
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