Donna M. has a daily ritual: she exercises in her indoor Endless Pools WaterWell® while watching The Ellen DeGeneres Show. While the show provides laughter and tears, the aquatic exercise provides something more – relief from the pain and disability of arthritis. As her husband, James, sees it, "the pool has been a godsend!"
NOTE: During this phone interview, Donna was experiencing difficulties with her vocal chords. James spoke on her behalf, while she nodded in agreement or whispered any notes.
"Her arthritis was so bad," James recalls, "the doctor told her that he would be surprised if she were not in a wheelchair by the end of the year. And she is anything but in a wheelchair! This had a dramatic effect."
How does daily activity in the WaterWell plunge pool help Donna? "Well, it actually loosens up your joints?" he asks her. "That was a yes! It makes you much more flexible. And using all the joints without the stress of weights has an effect on the inflammation."
Donna agrees that her daily WaterWell routine "absolutely" helps even if it's short of a cure. "Still there are limitations, but it doesn't interfere with her life in any major way," he reports before getting confirmation. "I'm getting a head nod there!"
"She exercises when Ellen DeGeneres is on TV – an hour a day," James notes. "She has a set routine from one of her earlier exercise programs.
"We also take tai chi in the pool with an instructor who has adapted everything to aquatic movements." They take their tai chi class weekly, with another couple joining them in their WaterWell.
The benefits of her aquatic exercise routines are "related to the arthritis, but it's an overall effect," he says. "It's general wellbeing, and she feels healthier all the way around. I can tell you that if she misses a day in the pool, no one's happy.
"When we have traveled and been away from the pool for a week or more, she misses it terribly," he observes. "You can see a noticeable decline in her ability to a navigate stairs and other obstacles. And the level of pain is dramatically higher.
"She goes to a standard physical therapist as well, but while they're helpful, the pool is what she feels has made the biggest difference," he adds.
"We had a large house out in the country with a swimming pool, and she loved her pool," James recalls. "But we moved into a smaller house in town. She said that one condition to moving was that she had to have an indoor pool. The house was built around the Endless Pool, and it's worked out great!
"Her doctor actually gave her the idea," he recalls, though they had some naysayers. "We know several people who work in the [traditional] swimming pool business, and I think that may have colored their perceptions of the Endless Pool. They were more than happy to sell us a bigger pool for the same purposes. "
The couple also appreciated the WaterWell's modular design, which made it easily adaptable to their new home. "You guys were extremely helpful in making the pool exactly to the size and shape that we needed to be worked into the house."
The WaterWell comes standard as a 7' square with a 42" water depth; they opted to customize it up to 15' x 7' with a 51" water depth. Traditional pool builders, they found, "were a little less accommodating."
With the Endless Pool, James says, "Ten minutes a week is normally dedicated to maintenance. When we had the outdoor pool, it was measured in hours a day.
"We don't have the big fluctuations in chlorine count or the constant maintenance that the outdoor pool had. The temperature is always 92 degrees, rock steady. The water's always comfortable. I don’t think it could be much easier to maintain! It doesn't require near the chemicals that we had to use before."
With less time spent on upkeep, the Endless Pools WaterWell leaves Donna with more time to dip in and exercise. "She uses the indoor pool far more than she did the outdoor pool. First of all, it's more convenient. Secondly, Ellen DeGeneres comes on!"
Donna also appreciates the year-round access. "It's not weather dependent," James relates. "The outdoor pool is subject to all limitations: thunderstorms, rain, cold, leaves," to name a few.
With aquatic exercise, more consistent use means increased relief. For James and Donna, their indoor Endless Pools WaterWell "has worked out very, very well."