"Right now, if I keep doing what I'm doing," Gayle says, "nobody would know I have MS." Nearly 30 years ago, she first experienced trouble walking. Since then, she has learned to manage her multiple sclerosis symptoms, partly by using the Endless Pools® installation in her Illinois home. "The pool is the aerobics exercise that I need," she's discovered. "Otherwise I just fold up like a pretzel!"
Gayle and her husband, Joe, had the poolroom addition built eight years ago. "The beauty of it is," she notes, "I can jump in anytime. I've gone anytime from 11 at night to two in the morning to anytime during the day, any season.
"I tried memberships at health clubs and such," she recalls, "but it was like half a day before I could get the whole thing done with, between the driving there and the showering. Sometimes I'd get there, and the pool was in use. So, it didn't really work out."
Staying Active & Flexible
"Exercise is not an option for me. I have to exercise if I want to stay out of bed," Gayle states bluntly. "So I had to choose some way to keep moving. You can only do so much walking, especially in Illinois in the winter.
"If I've been working too much, my legs get so tired. But I can swim with tired legs. It doesn't make any difference because I'm not on my feet. I can still move my arms.
"To me, swimming is fun. I have the same routine; I get in the pool and do all four strokes. I warm up using side stroke and a little breaststroke, and then when I'm warmed up, I crank the speed up a little more and do backstroke and freestyle. I use it several times a week.
"I have to get out after 20 minutes or so. The one thing that hasn't changed in 30 years is fatigue every couple of hours. But it's a very quick process to get moving again, to get loose, flexible.
"I've always loved swimming, my whole life. We grew up by a quarry that was a big public pool. I can't think of a better way to get your exercise. It's a whole-body workout, swimming is. If you're having trouble with one particular part of your body – for example, I broke a bone in my foot – I was still able to swim. So, it's been real good for me.
"There's a lot you can do in a pool," she reflects. "It's great for just resting. I just float and regain my energy. I love it!"
A Pool Worth Waiting For
It took Gayle quite some time to finally get her Original Endless Pool. "We were in Japan, we had earned a free trip, and I saw this very compact pool with a current. I thought, 'That's exactly what I need; then I could swim whenever I want, at whatever speed I want.'
"Well, I researched it for, like, 10 years. I got all the information from Endless Pools. I did check out other brands and types of spas and currents, but nothing was as smooth and easy to use as the Endless Pool. They were too turbulent or not the right configuration.
"So after 10 years, I finally got my wish, and we put an addition on the house that was year-round and put the pool in it. I was happy as a clam, and that was eight years ago."
Therapy Pool and Family Pool in One
Gayle opted for hydromassage jets in her Endless Pools model. "We use the jets a lot for sore muscles, bad backs, and whatever." Her husband, Joe, "has bad knees and such. It feels good to just sit by the jets; you get the weight off the joints too.
"The other thing is, we have 8 grandchildren. Needless to say, they were absolutely enthralled. In fact, one of them is coming this weekend again.
"Whenever I babysit, of course, they bring their swimsuits. They throw in rubber ducks; they just have a ball. It's a wonderful time. They all want me to crank up the current until," she says with a laugh, "Grandpa comes and says, 'OK, that's enough!'
"We've had kids practice swim strokes for swim teams, and my son-in-law has asked to use it to prepare for an extended Boy Scouts™️ trip where they're going to be in the water a lot, swimming, down in Florida.
"And being a year-round pool, if there's a blizzard going, we're all cozy and warm and swimming. It's fun!"
Following Doctor's Orders
While quality time with family is important, Gayle's Endless Pools installation is, first and foremost, a therapy pool for her multiple sclerosis. So there's one non-family member whose opinion matters greatly.
"I see my neurologist on a regular basis, and he told me a couple of years ago, 'Whatever you're doing, keep doing it, because you're stronger than you were.' And I thought, 'Well that's a pretty good endorsement.'"
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