Bellingham Athletic Club


The 4-Letter Word! I know, it’s not really 4 letters nor is it a real word. But when you’re doing it, there are plenty of 4 letter words that are used, at least by me. Rehab means I’m injured and not doing what I want to be doing. Rehab also means pushing muscles, finding new muscles and is generally boring and monotonous. I know what I’m talking about because I’ve done a lot of it.

Fortunately, it also means that the acute pain associated with an injury needing rehab has ebbed enough to do some physical work. Yippee – there’s that. You also get to meet new friends; the front desk staff, the doctor, the assistant and all of the people in the waiting room with their own issues. It’s like a whole new social circle. Unless of course, you are a chronic “rehaber” – then the only new people are in the waiting room. Unless they’re frequent visitors, too.

Sitting here with my hair smelling like chlorine, I’m going to sing the praises of the magic of the pool. Again. Yes, I’m in rehab mode. Again. The pool is a helpful place for healing just about every injury and surgery (once you’ve got an ok from the doctor). The water helps takes some stress off of sore joints, provides resistance to build muscles, including your heart and lungs without the need for weights. Swimming can be a whole body workout, or specific areas can be targeted. Swimming, water aerobics and just walking in the water have overall health benefits while improving your specific injury. A side benefit is that you’re meeting new people again, broadening your social circle. Unless the people you met in the waiting room at the doctor’s office are who’s in the pool.

Back to the 4 letter word. Whatever specialist is helping you get back into enjoying your regular activities, is going to encourage moving and stretching in the pool or out. They have a certain knack of finding the weak spots that need to be cared for, and will probably hurt a little to work. Hurt and work – real 4 letter words. However, these exercises count as, exercise! You’re leaving the injury behind and getting back into shape. This is awesome because before you started the rehab process, you were just injured. Now, you are actively getting better – progress.

Ultimately, if you do your exercises and go at the pace your doctor recommends, you will make the necessary physical improvements and get back to your regular activities. During rehab, maybe you’ll have found a new sport to love or new ways of moving that feel better or met a new friend. Bottom line, that nasty 4 letter word becomes a better word, healthy.

Susie Landsem
Aging in Place by Design