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Swim program helps mobility, morale

by Merrie Leininger, Staff Writer

People who have been locked in their home without a healthy amount of socialization or exercise because of a disability or injury should get their swimsuits out and try the new adaptive aquatics program at the Carson Valley Swim Center.

The program is designed to improve mobility and be just for fun, said Tina Keegan, one of the trainers.

“We’re catering to people who think they can’t exercise anymore. Because of the buoyancy and the resistance of water, it is really a great way to exercise for people with disabilities,” said Keegan, who has a degree in physical education. “They can get out of the house and strengthen body parts they wouldn’t have a chance to exercise normally, because the water is just more forgiving and not as strenuous on your system.”

She and trainer Janet Ward will help people understand the benefits of water activities, and there will be water exercise equipment, like water dumbbells, but the class will not be one-on-one. Anyone with serious disabilities needs to take a caregiver with them.

The program started Jan. 8 with two participants, but the trainers think they will have a full class when the word spreads.

“Both of (the participants) so far have really enjoyed it. Judy, who has multiple sclerosis, has already noticed more motion in her right leg,” Keegan said.

The idea for the program came from the Multiple Sclerosis Society, which trained Keegan and Ward for the class. The society also covers the $1.50 cost for each class for anyone registered with the society. Keegan explained that the center has multiple pools set at three different temperatures, making it possible for people with different sensitivities to be comfortable.

Ward said she hopes the participants will also be comfortable going to the pool, knowing there are other people with special needs and they won’t be singled out.

“One of the problems is there are not enough volunteers in the community to spend time with them and say, ‘We’re here, and we want to help.’ This is an opportunity for people with special needs to come to the pool and have time just for them,” Ward said.

The class meets Mondays and Fridays from 11 a.m. to noon. The class is cancelled Monday for Martin Luther King Day.

Call the pool for more information at 782-8840.