Empowering Mobility: Michelle’s Story of Overcoming Arthritis with Long Term Conditions Swim Class

Michelle, 67, from Waterlooville, is a regular at Horizon Leisure’s Long Term Conditions Swim Class, here she shares with us how arthritis has impacted her mobility and how being in the water gives her a sense of freedom.

Michelle says: “I had been struggling with arthritis for a number of years, and last June I had knee replacement surgery.  Unfortunately, the surgery didn’t bring me much improvement and after working with the hydro team and the physiotherapists at the hospital, they referred me to Horizon Leisure.

“After a health assessment with the team from Horizon Leisure, they developed a fitness programme for me, which included using the gym and attending the Long Term Conditions Swim Class. 

“I absolutely love the swimming class and would attend everyday if I could! I feel so free in the water; it really does offer me relief from my condition. It allows me to exercise without putting additional pressure on my body, so means I can exercise without pain. For example, I can’t pedal a bike, however in the water, I can pedal my legs.”

The Long Term Conditions Swim Class includes a mixture of free swimming and functional exercise, which works on the arms, upper body and the legs.

Michelle says: “The instructor and the swimming teacher who lead the session are very patient and caring.  Before anyone gets in the water they talk with you to fully understand what your specific needs may be and to make exercise modifications and offer guidance to ensure you get the most out of the class.

“It’s such a friendly group, and what’s fantastic is that everyone has a story and a sense of belonging. There are people with all sorts of health complaints and everyone is made to feel very welcome.”

Michelle has enjoyed the classes so much that she recommended it to her husband who now joins her in the pool every week.

Michelle explains: “I’m a firm believer that if you don’t use it you’ll lose it and if you have health conditions it’s even more important to keep as active as possible.  My husband really enjoys the session and he feels really positive to be doing something for his wellbeing.  Just like me, he finds the group to be very friendly and we all have a bit of a laugh together. It’s lovely to walk into the pool area and wave to friends we have made. 

“The class has really boosted my confidence and I look forward to going.  It’s extremely good value for money and I would recommend the class to anyone.  If you have any worries, just speak to the Horizon team, who are there to support and help you in the pool.  They are also available if you need assistance in getting in and out.”

Long Term Conditions Swim is a dedicated space for anyone wanting to enjoy the water safely, such as people with conditions like arthritis, anxiety, pulmonary disease, diabetes, cancer and strokes.

The pool sessions combine aquatic exercises, dedicated swimming lanes and the expert guidance of our wellbeing professionals and swimming instructors.

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