A Home That Doubles as a Private Exercise Studio and Therapy Site
In-home work-out studios usually consist of a room filled with exercise machines and/or weight-lifting equipment. But an innovative company has found a way to work with clients to develop an aquatic work- out system that is customized to suit their individualized needs.
When Alice Kreisle suddenly lost mobility in July of 2012, due to a disorder that left her temporarily paralyzed from the waist down, she was unprepared for the lifestyle changes she would ultimately learn to make. Along with the physical paralysis came a weighty and crushing mental and emotional paralysis, as well. She imagined a life devoid of movement, of being forever confined to her wheelchair.
Fortunately, Kreisle had always been an avid swimmer. She found that swimming was one way that she could exercise and stay healthy despite her paralysis. She discovered that many people who have some form of partial paralysis find that swimming not only gets them out of the wheelchair, but offers an opportunity for total freedom of mind, body and spirit not found in other athletic endeavors that are suitable for para and quadriplegics.
As Kreisle adapted to the wheelchair, and the freedom and release she found through swimming, she began to explore the idea of installing an indoor pool at her home in Cheverly, Maryland. She wanted to swim every day all year long without having to drive anywhere.
Tabor Design Build, Inc. is one of the few certified installers for Endless Pools in Maryland. An Endless Pool is basically a swimming treadmill. Unlike “swim spas” designed by hot tub manufacturers, which churn the water by using an assortment of high pressure jets, an Endless Pool provides swimmers with a single calm swim current that is wider and deeper than their bodies, regardless of their swim stroke. Tabor Design Build clients are able to adjust the current to suit their abilities and needs. Endless Pools are becoming increasingly popular, not only for exercise by para/quadriplegics, but for any patient recovering from a knee or hip replacement. They’re also valued as a vital tool by triathletes training for distance events, and college athletes who seek to perfect their strokes. Water’s natural buoyancy and low-gravity environment makes the Endless Pool an ideal exercise modality for those who suffer with chronic pain, for elderly persons with diminished movement, and for individuals battling obesity, all of whom can benefit from low-impact exercise.
After thoroughly researching available indoor pool options, Kreisle scheduled a meeting with John Tabor, president of Tabor Design Build. “I had no idea what I was doing,” recalls Kreisle, “I just knew I wanted a pool.” Tabor met with Kreisle once a week from the beginning of the project until completion to discuss concerns and questions. A 3D design was produced on a 52” television set in Tabor’s conference room, while Kreisle described what she wanted. According to Tabor, “Design changes are made in real time as the client watches. This really helps to create a picture of the desired product, which we transfer from their input and convey on the TV screen, before moving to the design concept and architectural plans. This is the only way the finished project will actually look like what the client envisioned.”
Kreisle felt as though she was an integral part of the construction team. “They took pride in what they were doing. They really cared that I got what I wanted,” recollects Kreisle. “The virtual software, that allowed me to see what the pool and addition would look like from various rooms and windows, and from different angles of the yard, was immensely helpful,” she adds.
“It allowed me to actually see what it was going to look like and to make changes before construction began, at which point it would be too late to make changes.”
The addition and pool were completed in about six weeks, and Kreisle has been enjoying her pool since May. Even though she has recovered much of her mobility and is no longer confined to a wheelchair, she continues to use her pool for at least an hour every day. She likens her experience of swimming continuously without having to make turns, to the exalted feeling a runner gets when running long distances. She describes her “swimmer’s high” as a very tranquil and meditative experience. “You’re not thinking about anything else—you just go with the flow.” When asked if it was worth the money, she replies, “Is your health worth it? It’s the best thing I ever did for myself.”