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Swim Equipment: Swimming Gear To Buy For Prehab And Rehab

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Swimming was by far the best exercise I did both before surgery and after.

I swam for the two months before my surgery (prehab) and I probably cut my rehab time in half. I used a walker for about three days after surgery, used crutches for ten days, used walking sticks for another week or two (mostly carrying them in case I got sore or tired) then I was walking, without assistive aids.

The Most Valuable Exercise I Did: Swimming

Swimming – By Far, The Best Exercise I Did – Of all the things I did for prehab, and rehab, there was one exercise that was by far the absolute best. I share this with you and the variations I added to improve my strength and range of motion.

Swimming – The Arranged Marriage – I wasn’t really into swimming, but I went to the local pool and bought a two month pass. I bought two months so I would be forced to honor that commitment. The more I swam, the more I tolerated it. It soon became like an arranged marriage, that somehow worked out. My hip got stronger and I benefited – you will too.

Good enough, isn’t good enough.

Hip Tip – Don’t Be A Wimp: I am not talking about going down to the pool and just getting in the water. The type of swimming I am talking about is getting in the water for at least 30 minutes a day and swimming as hard as your hip will allow. No wimps, no whining! Swim to the best of your ability – of course, get approval with your medical care professional before starting.

Hip Tip – Kickercise It: My goal was to really work my hip muscles. I took four kickboards lashed with a Velcro strap creating a large ‘kickboard block.’ I then put that block perpendicular to the water, to increase resistance, and kicked away. I would try and mix up my leg kicks with straight kicks, side-kicks, circular kicks, running motion kicks, frog kicks, lifting kicks – I felt like I was Mikhail Baryshnikov in the water, but I later overheard someone in the shower say that I was more like PeeWee Herman. I swam every other day, hard, for at least an hour.

Hip Tip – Kickercise Book: I am completing a book called Kickercise. It will detail on the range of motion exercises you can do for both prehab and rehab with a swim kickboard.

Hip Tip – Swimming Equipment Needed: You are probably a much better swimmer than I am, but these are the swimming accessories I bought: Center-mount (not side) snorkel, kayak nose plugs (the normal nose plugs are too wimpy), goggles, earplugs and swim fins. The center-mount snorkel looks weird, but I was into swimming lanes, not the runway. I also swam after surgery, but it was several months before I could bend far enough to put on the swim fins.

I used swimming fins to make my legs and hip work harder and thus help my prehab and rehab.

I have included links to all the swimming related gear. Everything, but the corded earplugs, are top-rated by Amazon.

The standard swimming gear is below, but I did buy myself one ‘treat’ item. A waterproof iPod shuffle. I could listen to music as swam. Works great. Initially I downloaded podcasts like NPR or TED Talks. The problem was it was a bit hard to always concentrate, then when you wanted to back up 30 seconds to hear what you missed, it was a bit of a hassle. Ultimately, I just made a series of music playlists. Five star rated at Amazon Waterproof Apple iPod Shuffle by AudioFlood with True Short Cord Headphones – Highest Rated Waterproof MP3 Player on Amazon

Of course for every action there is a reaction. Here was mine…

“Hear” A Drop, There A Drop, Everywhere A Drop, Drop: I surfed and body surfed for years and often I would end up with an amalgam of sand and ear wax. I would use various products, most often an ear candle. Can’t say that worked great, but it was better than nothing. All my swimming caused a tangential issue – ear wax. I ended up trying quite a few ear drop alternatives, to the point where I could walk into my local drug store and go directly to aisle 17, left-hand side, down by knees, to see the available options.

I did warm saline water, the warm water with hydrogen peroxide (don’t spill the peroxide :0 ), non-prescribed usage of Q-tips and an array of OTC drops. I even bought a small plastic bottle with a spray valve and shot wisps of alcohol (I drank the good stuff). Some of the drops contained ‘natural’ olive oil (who doesn’t like to smell like a salad?) the rest contain ‘natural’ herbs – which you can never really figure out as the print labels on these bottles are so small that they must have been designed by optometrists as a revenue mechanism.

Regardless, this product – Nutribiotic Ear Drops – proudly claims the contents as, “Grapefruit Seed Extract plus Tea Tree Oil.” So, my official test is to position myself comfortably on the couch, apply the drops, wait for 10 minutes and irrigate (yep, that means shower). Small tip… before you irrigate, let gravity work – place the ear dropped ear so the drops can flow back out. Allow a few minutes at a minimum. Verdict… works better than the other methods I have tried, but as with any OTC product, it isn’t necessarily strong enough to cure stronger conditions.

The true cost of, “Would you like fries with that?” Well, my ear wax ultimately got worse. You’ve heard that before, but I was having trouble hearing anything as wearing my earbuds had compacted the earwax and not only was the world reduced to a soft droning sound (good thing with my mother-in-law in town) but I was experiencing an earache. I thought only little kids got earaches.

Well, I went to my doctors office and they examined my ears and concluded that there was a lot of wax in my ear. Then, just like when MacDonalds asks, “Would you like fries with that?” (an inconsequential monetary sum), the nurse asked me, “Would you like us to remove the wax?” I responded, “Yep!” They irrigated my ear with a device similar to this Elephant ear washwer . About three weeks I got the bill for the, “Would you like?” question. It was $400. I should have asked about pricing.

So, with my expensive lessons, and my continued use of earbuds, I am now the proud owner of my do-it-yourself ear irrigation device Elephant Ear Washer Bottle.

The Hidden Cost Of Ear Irrigation: The earwasher works great, but there is a hidden cost… The device has single-use, plastic tips that are added to the tubing each time you irrigate. Not expensive, but you need to factor that hidden cost into your purchase. Elephant Ear Replacement Tips (Bag of 20)

 

Hip Tip – Kickboard Sizing: I suggest using one kickboard for each 50-75 pounds of body weight. This will provide both buoyancy and resistance as you swim.

Here are the swim gear items that can help you with your rehab after your hip replacement surgery.

Cheap goggles leak because they don’t fit well. Buy a good pair of swimming goggles. Aqua Sphere Kayenne Goggle With Clear Lens

If you desire larger goggles that may be more comfortable try the following swim mask goggles. Aqua Sphere Vista Swim Mask

Amazon Products

Your goal in rehab is not to perfect your breathing technique. Your goal is to swim, as much as you can. The design allows the water drag to be centered, unlike side-mounted snorkels which tend to pull your goggles off. Finis Swimmer’s Snorkel, Blue

I also first bought regular nose plugs Speedo Competition Nose Clip, then I bought the heavy duty nose plug style that a kayaker uses Harmony Smiley’s Kayak Nose Plugs.


Many people use a swim cap to keep their hair out of their face and to keep the chlorine out of their hair. Hear is a silicone version Speedo Silicone Swim Cap and a Lycra TYR Lycra Swim Cap option.

There are many earplugs for swimming. I chose the corded earplugs. I just didn’t like the fact if I didn’t have a perfect fit that I might lose one. Swimming Corded Noise Reduction Blue Silicone Earplugs w String

Having said that, I also included the a link to the tip selling earplugs on Amazon – Ergo Ear Plugs: Ergo Ear Plugs

The right pair of swim fins can be tough because everyone has a different size foot. I have a dainty size 14. I boogie-boarded and body-surfed for years so I have tried many types of fins. Be sure to read the reviews of these top rated Amazon fins before you buy.

I bought the pair below, but had to return because they were too tight. However, they were very light weight and I have seen others at my pool swim with this brand. Aqua Sphere Alphafin Eva Foam Fin

This pair of swim fins has very good ratings and reviews. Finis Zoomer Z2 Gold Fins (Yellow/Black)

These swimming fins stay on while swimming. FINIS Yellow Positive Drive Fin

Most pools have an abundance of kickboards available.

Here is the top rated Speedo Adult Kickboard – I used Velcro to lash four of these together in the pool. Speedo Adult Kickboard

I bought two of these and strapped they together with duct tape. Dimensions: 12.25 ” L x 5.0 ” W x 21.75 ” H Advanced Trainer Polyform Swim/Kick Board

Of course, after you swim you will need to clean up. Here are some products to help you remove the chlorine from your body: body wash soap Triswim Body Wash, both shampoo and conditioner Ultra Swim Repair Shampoo & Conditioner, both shampoo and conditioner Triswim Shampoo Triswim Conditioner and Paul Mitchell Shampoo Anti-Chlorine.

As part of writing this book, I had many ideas while swimming in the pool, only to forget them later. I bought this water reminder pad Scuba Dive Underwater Writing Slate.

Lastly, finally, you need a bag to carry all your swimming rehab gear… Speedo Deluxe Mesh Swim Equipment Bag

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