New member- swimming lessons!: Hi everyone Im Nicky... - NRAS


31,169 members37,714 posts

New member- swimming lessons!


Hi everyone

Im Nicky, 30 years old from Birmingham. Had rheumatoid arthritis for about two years but have had swelling joints for nearly a year n on medication Since may. (Methatraxate and daily steroids) haven't been able to go to the gym. No strength in wrists/hands, swelling on foot and knee aswell! So annoying.

I'm starting swimming lessons tomorrow as I like the water but don't really know how to swim lengths as an actual workout, I've heard swimming is good for the joints. So I'm going to start swimming as my excerise. Has anyone else done this or found it helps? Or can recommend anything else?


37 Replies

Hello and welcome!

Oh yes, swimming is one of the few things I actually enjoy! My only problem is getting in and out of pool... I'm so stiff atm. I find swimming very calming too.


Catty1988 in reply to Hidden

Thank u so much! I will see how I go too, they said they have steps and disabled access and pool is heated. How often do u go? X

Yes, I love swimming & go twice a week. I do aquafit & it’s a great workout & you don’t need to be able to swim well to join in.

When in Tenerife I swim twice a day. I find it great for my joints as long as I don’t swim at the same pace as I used to be able to do. Enjoy your lesson.

Catty1988 in reply to Caza

Thank u so much! I signed up earlier and I saw an aqua fit class so I may try in a few weeks. Thanks for the advice! Have u noticed a difference in ur weight whilst swimming/exceriseing? X

Caza in reply to Catty1988

For me no but then I’ve never been overweight. What it does for me is give me more energy & firms all wobbly bits up.

Hi (and welcome!), I love swimming. I get out and feel like a normal person for a few hours! It is so gentle and relaxing and good for the joints (and spirit!).

I also do Pilates which I find amazingly good. I roll about on the floor not feeling like I’m doing anything much, but the feeling afterwards once everything has been gently exercised is amazing!

Catty1988 in reply to JEM95

Thank you! Aww that's amazing, I'm looking forward it to more now reading these comments! I can't get on the floor too good yet lol so ur Pilates class sounds great. How long do u manage to swim for? X

JEM95 in reply to Catty1988

I usually swim for about 40 minutes, and try and do two extra lengths each time! I know I won’t be able to do that forever!!

The physio at the hospital recommended Pilates. I couldn’t do quite a few of the moves to start with and the teacher always gave me alternatives - but I can do them now, which is fantastic 😀

Little steps! X

I go to aquafit two to three times a week. There are steps with a hand rail at the pool (and a hoist but I don't need that currently) The instructor knows the type of problem that I have and sometimes tells me an alternative to what most of the others are doing (I keep near the front so that she can see me). She is a 'level four' instructor so has had extra training for disabilities and there are lots of people in the class who have progressed from 'Exercise on Prescription' referrals.

I also do circle dancing (no partner needed and you can sit down when you need to). And gardening mostly sitting down.

Catty1988 in reply to oldtimer

That's amazing advice thank u so much I think I will do the same and speak with instructor and ask them to give me alternatives if I find anything difficult too, how long can u swim for? My lesson is 30 mins long which doesn't sound like long but I guess it is quite a lot on the body. I e never heard of circle dancing is it good? X


Yes I love it Catty, haven’t been this week as hand and elbow flaring badly but was recommended by rheumatology. I did lessons to teach me to breathe with front crawl which were brilliant: bizarrely find this easier than breast stroke. My local rheumatology dept has small warm pool and do ‘aqua fit’ type programmes specifically for RA. Good luck x

Catty1988 in reply to Hidden

Thank u so much I will look out for a front crawl! I don't know anything really haven't swam for about twenty years lol. Do u manage to swim for long?

Hidden in reply to Catty1988

I do about 20 mins slowly but still makes me feel good. Cheap old small council pool at end of my road near seafront. Really warm and looks like an old 1930s boathouse inside: I love it and will be gutted if they ever close it down 😀 I do adult lanes or adults only sessions: empty & peaceful

Catty1988 I am really interested to hear how you get on. I used to swim twice a week , breast stroke head out of the water stuff, but just can't do it now due to my neck problems. I had considered learning how to do front crawl to see if I could manage that and wondered about a private lesson or two.

I started Tai Chi 2 weeks ago and am managing okish, with regular breaks of sitting down and taking more NSAIDS (voltarol) the nights before and after I go, otherwise I just cease up.

Catty1988 in reply to Mmrr

Thank u so much, I will update once I've been it's on Saturday morning every week then I can use public pool during the week. Somebody else said front crawl too so I think that's worth trying!! Tai chi sounds good I liked yoga but can't get on the floor easily yet. I'm like that if I don't take steroids I can't move! I don't know much about nsaids, Hopefully the swimming and tai chi makes a difference for u too! X

I can't swim on my front due to neck & shoulder problems..but I manage with a type of back crawl......but be aware how close you are to the end of the pool...I nearly pole axed myself when I first started! I go so carried away how fast I appeared to be going I forgot to stop...Ouch!

Catty1988 in reply to AgedCrone

lol omg! I will deffo be careful thank u for the advice I know what u mean lol. Hope ur ok! I'm excited to try all the different ways x

Hidden in reply to AgedCrone

Been there done that too, you feel such a fool ☺️

Yes swmming is amazing. If your learning ask when the quieter times are. It will be easier when the water isn't choppy. I always feel relaxed after, and make time after to enjoy the feeling before do any other jobs. You may even meet some new friends that are in the same boat. Good luck and most importantly enjoy it😊

Catty1988 in reply to Tinatop78

Thank u so much, great idea sometimes it's good to schedule in those rest stops. I will take Saturday mornings to do just that! Does it make u fatigue after or just normal work out tired? Thanks for the advice x

Hi it varies. I find if I've overdone it can feel a little shaky after. I always take a big cold squash for after. Sometimes I need to nap, then other time I can crack on with the day. Always good to listen to your body....harder said than done. Usually its just me enjoying it so much and not noticing my body, probably those lovely endorphins!😊

Catty1988 in reply to Tinatop78

Brill, thanks helps me to understand what to expect!


Hi swimming is great for rhuematoid arthritis, puts no pressure on joints, give it a try. You could also try walking a few miles every day, that's a good exercise also and good for all your body. I walk everyday with my dog Oscar he keeps me active. I have had rhuematoid arthritis like you for 2 years, was devastated, use to go to the gym, climb mountains,another good exercise is going on a bike ride, but don't overdo it. Hope you find the right exercise for you. Good luck.😄

Catty1988 in reply to Hidden

Thank you so much, I'm struggling to walk with ease at the moment but hope that will get better!

Really the very best of luck....I’ve been thinking of swimming just not got there yet!

Catty1988 in reply to Pastels

Thank you so much, are you going to start too? My first lesson is Saturday as the Thursday classes were now full! Good luck!!

Hi Catty1988 I'm from near Walsall. I love swimming when in the water i feel relaxed. I also do hydrotherapy, most leisure centres around me offer this. Enjoy learning to swim & ask about hydrotherapy.

Catty1988 in reply to alibromo

Hey! Ahh ur local! I've heard of hydrotherapy, did u get a referral or do you pay? I found a place but it's so early in the morning (7-8am) and I'm not the best in the mornings with my stiffness and swelling. Thank you for ur advice x

alibromo in reply to Catty1988

I go to Oak Park lesuire centre in Wallsall Wood . There's Wednesday mornings 8-9 and when the kids go back they also do one Monday afternoons 12.30-1.30.

You do have to pay and also you have to have an assesment before hand.

Keep swimming and enjoy Alison x

yes -made a gr8t difference 2me -see my reply to Waffs - fingrs too tired 2 retype. xx

ps cold ish water cools inflammation, i now do 5 mornings mon-friday for abt 40 mins, varies from 14 - 30 lengths dep on energy. xx

They cancelled my first lesson on Saturday! So have to wait till next week. Thanks for ur advice, also good to know what kind of time frame is good. Excited to start. X

Hi everyone- update on swimming.

They cancelled my swimming lesson last Saturday. But I went today for my first session. Oh my god I loved it!

I went to a group lesson (only 4 others in the lesson today) I started with arm bands and floats, and then instructor watched me and said I could try without so ended lesson with no aids, just paddling from one side to the other to get used to the water. Surprised myself how well I did. Definitely felt it working my legs today! Stayed in water 30 mins, got a little tired after doing a lap so took my time when needed. Cant wait to go again! I'm going to go on my own to practise in Between lessons.

Thanks for all the advice made me less nervous to go!

Just seen this Catty. Well done you for the swimming lessons. Yes, swimming helps immensely. It's a great exercise with no weightbearing on joints. I wish you every success with your lessons. I am sure you will love it. Best of luck. X

Catty1988 in reply to Shalf

Thank u! I've been 3 times so far now n doing squats n walking n other exercises in the water which has been good.

Glad you had such a positive first swim. I'm sure you'll be great and will benefit enormously.

I went a few days ago with my daughter, had fun, didn't overdo it. Then her hat slipped off so instead of using the ladder like a normal person. I pulled myself up from the side and popped the hat back on. I sprain my shoulder and spent two nights and days having to rest with peas and hot water bottles. Even had to use an old pair of knickers as a quick sling at one point. My lesson is learned..... The hard way!😂

Catty1988 in reply to Tinatop78

Omg I can't believe that! Also never thought of using pants as a sling great idea lol. Hope ur feeling better! X

You may also like...