When conventional swimming pools in northern latitudes are covered up and useless, Linda Bain's Endless Pool is at its most "magnificent," as she describes it. Linda, a recently retired postal worker who lives in Wisconsin, has used her pool for a little more than a year to treat the symptoms of connective tissue disease, a little-understood inflammation of joints and the soft tissues that connect them to muscles. And as true of many other Endless Pool owners, the unit is now integral to her life and home.
Linda's Endless Pool is adjacent to an east-facing window wall - part of what makes her exercise environment so alluring, "especially when there's snow on the ground," she says. Her customary three-session-a-day Endless Pool routine begins with a workout between 7:30 and 8:00 AM and lasts for as much as 40 minutes. She concludes the workout by relaxing in a chaise lounge, the room bathed in morning light.
The emphasis of the program is on leg exercises, including kicking against water resistance while holding the bar and "pedaling" while at the side of the pool; but her customized unit - 16 inches deeper than standard - also allows the 5'-5" Linda to work her arms and shoulders while standing upright. She also swims the breaststroke against moderate resistance.
Because warmth is important to treating her affliction, she tries to maintain a temperature of 94 degrees in winter, 89 degrees in summer. Linda repeats the routine in the afternoon, following lunch, "and seems to be renewed again."
She devised her evening session, which commences at about 7 PM, to combine soothing movement and pure relaxation. It sometimes lasts an hour and is laid-back enough to include watching television.
Linda, 62, finds the benefits accrued from her use of the Endless Pool both empirical and otherwise. When she first started exercising in it, for example, she could complete only about two dozen repetitions of the breaststroke; now she does 200-300 repetitions. The incidence of pain related to connective tissue disease has been reduced to "almost none." She has lost "pounds and inches," and she no longer feels the need to take prescription medication for sinus discomfort.
Indeed, Linda views her Endless Pool as "the greatest thing that's ever happened to me," a revelation she is eager to share.
"There's never a soul who walks into this house – be it a serviceman, or a carpet installer, or whoever – who isn't shown our pool," she laughs. "Because we just are so absolutely in love with it."