Swimming With a Physical Disability
Swimming is an awesome, all-around fun activity for people of all ages. It's widely known that swimming is not only a great leisure activity, but an excellent non-impact way to get exercise and improve health without risking injury as well. Swimming helps to:
- Maintain a healthy heart rate
- Relieves stress
- Builds muscle strength
- Builds endurance
- Improves cardiovascular health
- Aids in weight maintenance
- Improves heart and lung strength
What about swimming with a physical disability? Can it still be done? You might be surprised to learn that swimming is actually one of the most popular physical activities for people with physical disabilities. In addition to the overall health and fitness benefits that can be gained, swimming can offer improved mobility, especially since the water helps to support the whole body, offering a wide range of motion when submerged. Being buoyant can also ease up tight or painful joints and tendons, providing excellent muscle therapy. With swimming also comes greater balance and agility since individuals can practice moving in water in ways that they can not on land.
One challenge for those with physical disabilities might be getting into and out of the water. Pool lifts like Aqua Creek's Revolution Pool Lift are an excellent addition to any pool facility to offer mobility help for making pool time easier. Available in both manual and automatic models, pool lifts can be used for both residential and commercial applications.
Automatic lifts are compliant with current ADA requirements; however, manually-cranked or -rotated lifts are not. In order for a lift to be ADA compliant, the user must be able to operate it without assistance. According to the 2010 ADA Standards, pools with at least 300 linear feet of pool wall or more are required to have at least one accessible means of entry, which can be either a sloped entry or a fixed pool lift.
Manual pool lifts are an ideal, affordable choice for home pools or spas. They operate via an easy-to-use hydraulic pump or manual crank and usually feature a comfortable sling-style seat. Aqua Creek's sturdy manual pool lifts, like the EZ Pool Lift are made from durable type 304L stainless steel and coated with durable epoxy powder coating to withstand years of use. They can work with in-ground pools and can be mounted above ground, and they can also be easily stored away in the winter time.
Automatic or battery-powered pool lifts like the Scout 2 make for an excellent, ADA-compliant addition to any rec center or pool facility. Automatic lifts will usually have a solid, submergible seat and a foot rest, though the foot rest is often removable, and can typically lift up to at least 300 pounds. Most importantly, they can be operated by the user, usually with a hand-controlled remote, both from the deck and in the water. The remotes will generally not require tight gripping, pinching or twisting of the wrists to operate and should be easy enough to use that require no more than 5 pounds of force to operate.
How to Choose a Pool Lift
Some important things to consider when selecting a pool lift include the gutter style of the pool, from roll out to recessed, bull nosed or raised, to the pool's dimensions from the deck to the water, as well as the width of the gutter and/or coping. You will also want to bear in mind whether the pool in question is above or below ground, which will affect whether or not you will want to anchor the pool lift. Most importantly, you will want to consider where the pool lift will be used. Is it for your business or is it for your home? If it is for a business like a public pool, spa, or rec center, then you will definitely want to make sure that your pool lift is ADA-compliant.
Once your lift is set up, you can be sure to enjoy hours of fun and therapeutic time in the water. Swimming is not only enjoyable and beneficial to your health, but is a great social activity as well. Regardless of what you are looking to gain from it, your pool lift is guaranteed to bring vitality to your life.
Jared Soper, Author