Wind back the clock.
As both a rehabilitation expert and a spa user for more than three decades, Dr Don Rabush is uniquely positioned to comment on the therapeutic benefits of spas and swim spas.
Don has led a rich and fulfilling life to date – but it certainly hasn’t been without its health issues. He suffered his first heart-attack – a massive cardiac event which very nearly claimed his life – at the age of 33, and has had two others since then. A double bypass and four major midline surgeries followed, with the volume of medication required thereafter eventually leading to a cancer diagnosis.
A tour of Vietnam, where Don served as a Captain in the US army, also took its toll, with exposure to agent orange causing peripheral neuropathy which impacts muscle strength and balance.
But you wouldn’t know it to look at him! At 80 years old, Don still has a sense of energy and vibrancy about him which belies his age and defies the health challenges he’s faced. And he credits much of that to his daily swim spa ritual. And he credits much of that to his daily swim spa ritual. Over the last three decades, Don has owned a number of spas and swim spas, using his PhD in Education (majoring in Rehabilitation) to design his own rehab routine.
“I started out with spa pools”, says Don, “then moved to swim spas as a way to keep fit. Initially, I used my swim spa primarily for anaerobic exercise (i.e. swimming), but nowadays I do more and more yoga-type activities.”
From swimming and walking to squats, stretching and mobility work, Don performs an array of exercises which he believes have helped limit the effects of ageing.
“Regular, low-impact hydrotherapy has helped me maintain a standard of living which I believe wouldn’t otherwise have been possible, given the health issues I’ve faced. I’ve been able to enhance my balance, retain muscle mass, increase my oxygenation levels and even improve my sleep!”
Don’s also made a convert out of his wife, who used to suffer from chronic knee issues. “She was sceptical at first”, recalls Don, “but that quickly changed. The warm water increased her circulation, and she’s been able to enjoy exercising without impact on her hips or knees. Today, she’s much more active, and has regained her sense of self-confidence”.
Given the benefits he and his wife have experienced, it’s little wonder Don has become a passionate advocate for swim spas. “I think they’re absolutely wonderful”, he says. “They’re a great tool at any stage of life, and can be hugely beneficial for people with all sorts of disabilities or health complaints. And, because you can use them year-round, you can exercise and rehab more frequently, which has to be a good thing. I know it increases the quality of my life, so I’m all for it!”
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