The Joy of Swimming

An empty indoor swimming pool.

If anyone asked me what I missed most during lockdown I’d have to say it was seeing my son. But that would be closely followed by swimming. Of all forms of exercise I do and have done, swimming is my favourite. So, it is with pleasure that I can say that yesterday I swam for the fourth time in as many weeks.

Structural stuff

Swimming in a covid struck world is a bit different from before. Our local pool, has however got things really well organised. From the online booking system to the extra wide swimming lanes. There is meant to be a no over taking rule, but not every one obeys that. I don’t mind so long as people are courteous and keep out of each other’s way. The big downside as far as I can see is that most of the showers are closed. Oh and the coffee shop.

You are expected to turn up with your costume under your clothes, something I always do anyway. Then you have to strip off by the poolside. This is fine now, in summer. But I wonder how it will be when you have people arriving in coats and boots. We can only hope things are back to normal by then.

The changing rooms are at least available for getting dried and dressed which is a big bonus. I’m not enjoying stripping off again and showering after I get home, but rules are rules!

The joy of swimming

Why do I love swimming so much? I’m not a sporty kind of person. I hated running as a teenager and can’t see much point in it now. I’ve always found keep fit, aerobics and the like to be dull but necessary. But swimming is something I’ve loved since I was a child. My mum still talks about the summer I became proficient and how she raced with me. But whether swimming lengths or mucking about in the water I have always found it a complete joy.

These days I am less fast than I was when I was briefly first year senior school breast stroke champion. I was never hot on the practicing required to stay at the top of my game. Instead I learned the joy of swimming for pleasure. Lengths still but at a pace where you can settle into a rhythm and lose yourself in the moment. Where you can let your brain lose all of it’s problems and thoughts and just concentrate on the stroke, on breathing and getting that heart rate up.

Since I had my mastectomy two years ago this has proved to be useful exercise for my arm and shoulder. My mastectomy side (right) gets stiff and swimming gives it an excellent work out. More fun than walking your hand up the wall and other tricks, that’s for sure.

I love that swimming is something you can do at any age. That you can do it in the pool or the sea (something I hope to be doing soon). Plus that it is an important skill that may need to be called into play if someone gets into trouble in water.

Older and still healthy

So, as I get older and no longer feel the need for exercise classes I love that there is still something good I can do for myself. Walk to the pool, swim for 30-40 minutes, walk home and feel great all day.

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