Swimming outside of the womb started when I was 18 months old. Being comfortable and safe in the water was a family priority: my folks grew up jumping into swimming holes, wiggling in creeks, floating down rivers, and seeing firsthand what can happen when somebody isn’t a strong swimmer. At little over a year old, off I went to the local pool where my mom introduced me to a bigger bathtub and the skills that created a water-loving baby and adult.
As a food server in the ’80s, eight hour days of pounding my feet across thinly carpeted concrete left me feeling like a grease-infused 95 yr. old. The only thing on my post-shift brain was to get home, strip off the stinky uniform, pitch it into the wash and de-scum in the shower. Then I’d collapse onto the floor, lie on my back and drape my legs over the loveseat cushions. Ahhhh, rest and relief.
Despite dashing around the restaurant’s dining room several days per week and burning up countless calories, I was feeling fat,out of shape, and completely spent. Working out doing any of my chosen sports was unfathomable.
But several months into this body-grueling schedule, I had what seemed like a ridiculous wonder that turned into a brilliant routine: wouldn’t it feel great if I got in the pool after my shift to experience the weightlessness and body integration of a swim? Try it once, abandon the notion if it doesn’t work. So I headed to the pool and swam laps on my way home from my next shift. After moving weightless and free for just a few minutes, I knew I’d landed upon the solution to my fitness needs while I worked the server job.
I built up to swimming a mile every time I hit the pool. The results were supreme: I felt back amongst the living, my weight dropped, my energy level increased and I toned up while building muscle in my arms and legs. Plus, my cardio benefits were mounting. Little did I know I was also adding years to my life.
In Lap it Up, Part 2 of this swimming blog series, read about swimming’s myriad health benefits as well as resources to get you into the pool. Part 3 – Hydrogen Peroxide to Swimmers’ Rescue – teaches you how to minimize the stink and health effects from swimming in chlorinated pools.
Grab your suit and goggles and I’ll see you in the lane next to me!