STEPIN2NOW: Unique Design Offers Simple Solution
Summer 2015 | ATRI Newsletter
STEPIN2NOW Swimwear Eliminates Obstacles Associated with Putting On, Taking Off Swimsuits; Allows Women to Enjoy the Benefits of Water Exercise
STEPIN2NOW Swimwear (stepin2now.com) has designed a swimsuit that is changing the swimwear industry as well as the lives of women suffering from arthritis and other physical conditions that make putting on a suit difficult. Company founder Anne Byrnes created the revolutionary design, which enables women to simply step into a swimsuit, eliminating the bending, pulling and twisting movements that can create painful obstacles for many women.
Byrnes credits her sister for inspiring the specialty suit. Exercising in a warm pool provides her significant relief from joint pain caused by arthritis. When getting into and taking off her swimsuit became a struggle, she grew concerned she’d have to give up aquatic exercise entirely. “The exercise is not the issue,” says Byrnes, a licensed Ph.D. clinical psychologist who retired after 35 years in university student health services. “The problem for many women stems from the actual process of getting into and then out of a wet suit.”
The benefits of the STEPIN2NOW suit derive from its design and shape. It consists of two independent half-suits that slide one on top of the other. Each half-suit has one shoulder strap and no fabric above the waist on the opposite side, allowing one’s arm to easily slide into the strap without rotating the shoulder. According to Byrnes, reducing stress on the hands, back and shoulders was the key criterion in designing the suit and remains its most important benefit. Additional attributes include shoulder straps that don’t bind and stay in place; the sleekness and weightlessness of the fabric; and the absence of buttons, zippers, snaps or velcro closures that require dexterity.
“The value of aquatic activity in promoting and recovering health is tremendous,” says Ruth Sova, an internationally acclaimed aquatic therapy expert and founder of the Aquatic Therapy & Rehab Institute. “Research shows the proven benefits of water-supported exercise for chronic musculoskeletal conditions, such as arthritis, and other sports-and surgery- related injuries.”
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, half of baby boomer women, age 65, will be diagnosed with arthritis during the next 10 years. Arthritis or rheumatism continues to be the most common cause of disability among adults according to a CDC study, which cites arthritis, back or spine problems, and heart trouble as the top three causes of disability among U.S. adults.
“Because the buoyancy of the water supports you and alleviates the fear of falling, exercising in water is much easier than it is on land,” adds Byrnes. “The need for low-impact exercise that increases mobility and provides pain relief is becoming acute as the population ages.”
The STEPIN2NOW swimsuit met rigorous consumer product testing standards at the accessibility evaluation facility of a leading research university. Tested by women with arthritis, and receiving high ratings, the suit is ideal for water aerobics, aquatic therapy and lap swimming. The four-way stretch soft, silky Italian swim fabric, which is 80 percent polyamide micro and 20 percent XtraLife Lycra (demonstrated to resist chlorine damage 10 times longer than chlorine-resistant spandex) has a UPF rating of 50+.
The suit, which is designed for water aerobics, aquatic therapy and lap swimming, is made in America and manufactured in New York City. It is currently available in sizes 2 to 14, with plus sizes coming in summer 2015. Color choices include blue, fuchsia, purple and black, with additional colors as well as prints planned. The swimsuit retails for $128 and can be purchased at the company’s online store at stepin2now.com.