PIQUA — A local woman is regaining her ability to walk again after following her doctor’s advice and taking an aquatics class at the YMCA.
Aundalee Wintrow, 75, of Piqua, participates in an arthritis aquatics course at the Piqua branch of the YMCA, which has a chair lift at their pool that helps her get in and out of the water.
“I couldn’t come to the pool if they didn’t have that,” Wintrow said.
After five weeks of the class, Wintrow was walking on her own again, little by little. She is able to make it across short distances, like from her living room to her kitchen.
“I can take steps. I can move myself from chair to chair,” Wintrow said.
Wintrow is also able to walk on her own in the pool and rely on her own balance, for which she previously would have needed assistance or flotation devices to hold herself up. She has seen a 100 percent improvement on her balance, as she couldn’t stand or hold one foot up before.
“These exercises have helped my movement, not only here, but at home,” Wintrow said. “The exercise is helping me move better.”
In the arthritis aquatics class, participants exercise both their upper bodies and their lower bodies, from walking around the pool to exercising their arms and shoulder muscles.
“We do it all,” Wintrow said.
Wintrow also continues to do other exercises outside of the class, including physical therapy lessons she receives from Fidelity. For Wintrow, exercise does not stop now that she is starting to feel better, but it is a continuous process.
“I still do those exercises daily. It’s something I feel that you’ve got keep up with,” Wintrow said. “You can’t just stop and expect it to work. You’ve got to keep those muscles working all the time.”
Overall, Wintrow has noticed a true difference in herself since participating in the class.
“The things I can do here are remarkable,” Wintrow said.
Wintrow is now able to get out into the community more, from going to the grocery store to going out to eat. “I can get out and do things,” she said.
“I can see such a big change in her,” Wintrow’s daughter, Kathy Hamilton of Daytona Beach, Fla., said. Hamilton traveled to Piqua from Daytona Beach to help take her mother to the arthritis aquatics class. Hamilton said that her mother was very leery at first of taking the class, but now she has also noticed a positive difference in her mother’s health.
“I’ve seen 100 percent improvement. It’s amazing,” Hamilton said. “Now she can get out of her chair … She is able to walk more. She’s able to go out to eat.”
Hamilton said that Wintrow was on so much pain medication that she would fall asleep during the middle of a conversation sometimes. Before, it seemed as if there was no life left in Wintrow at times. Now, Wintrow has been able to cut back on her pain medication — taking about half of what she took before she started the class — and is much more lively around the house.
“I have chronic pain,” Wintrow said. “This has cut down on my pain medication.”
Wintrow is not the only one who has taken exercise to heart. Jackie (Thompson) Jenkins, 87, of Troy, has been participating in the aquatics courses at the YMCA since 1989.
For Jenkins, physical fitness became a part of life for her after her own visit with a doctor.
“I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, and the doctor recommended that I get into the water,” Jenkins said. The water fitness has also helped Jenkins get off some of her pain medication as well.
For 27 years, Jenkins has been a fish out of water after the exercise she did there helped keep her healthy.
“I’d probably be an invalid if I didn’t stay in the water,” Jenkins said.
Physical fitness also does not end at a certain age.
“The older you get, the more you should come,” Jenkins said.
Reach the writer at (937) 451-3336