Looking back, I have no idea why I was so resistant to the idea of working out in a pool.
I guess I had a lot of the same preconceptions that people seem to have now, when I try to tell them how great pool workouts can be.
A lot of my healthy, non-injured friends say things like “how hard can it really be?”. Reading between the lines, I know they’re thinking that if I can do it, with my injury, it can’t really be that great a workout.
I think I probably felt the same way at first, which is why for the first few weeks of having my injury, I kept trying to do the same old things at home… resulting in my SI joint locking up within a few hours of getting home from the chiropractor.
Again, while I don’t always agree with my chiropractor, I have to admit he was completely right from square one about the fact that I needed to be performing non-weight-bearing exercise in a pool.
(Non-weight-bearing exercise = you’re floating, and you aren’t touching the bottom. This is compared to reduced-weight-bearing exercise, which means you’re upright in the shallow end with your feet touching the bottom. That’s okay, but in the initial stages of an injury, no weight at all is probably better).
Once I started to work out in a pool, things really started to get better.
For one thing, my sleep improved. I’ve always been the kind of person who has trouble sleeping if I don’t get enough exercise, and I had been getting really bad insomnia since my SI joints started preventing me from moving too much.
I began to build strength and endurance in my muscles. There’s actually more to this than you might think, and I didn’t completely get things right at first, or do all that I later found I needed to be doing. But it was a start…. the first exercise I could really do, at all, compared to trying to do stuff on land and having one of my SI joints lock up within the first ten minutes.
A reader once asked me to describe the pool exercises I did for my SI joints, and I came up with this somewhat rudimentary post. It is still up if you’d like to look at it, although I know I need update it with more clear explanations at some point.