I simply love the water; what a wonderful way to stay fit while having a fun! Over the years, I have learned lessons that make my time in the water even better.
The “Ankle Index”
For me it’s not summer until I swim in a lake. Of course, here in Minnesota the lakes can often be cold. So I use the “ankle index” to decide if it is warm enough for swimming. I walk in up to my ankles, and if it doesn’t hurt – I swim! It has to be pretty darn cold for me not to get in – and the trick is to get in fast! Once I’m under water and moving, I warm up. I love watching the clouds and birds as I paddle around on my back. Ahh—summer.
Getting Fit in the Water – Take a Pulse Check.
It’s difficult to tell how hard you are working your body when you are in the water. Here’s a simple tip...take a pulse check. After you are fully warmed up, do a few hard laps or some fast aqua-aerobic moves for several minutes. Stop and measure your pulse. (I use my inner wrist, but you can also find your pulse just under the jawline on your neck.) Count your pulse for 15 seconds. Do it right away when you stop, when your heart is pounding the fastest. Then rest –don't move- for 45 seconds, then re-count another 15 seconds of pulse. At first, you’ll find those two numbers very similar. After you are regularly swimming or working out, you’ll find the second number will come down faster and faster. That’s your heart getting stronger and recovering a resting rate faster and faster. That’s how you know you are getting fitter. Easy!
Who needs a pretty stroke?
I came to swimming late after being one of those fearful kids in the water. The side stroke saved me. At first, I was embarrassed that I could only really do the side stroke, but I like it, and the crawl was just not happening for me, even after adult lessons. Always wanting to look on the brightside, I figured that my inefficient stroke meant I got more workout per lap that those fast, beautiful swimmers. One day I noticed I was going faster than some people doing the crawl – and my face was out of the water enjoying the view out the windows of the pool! Over the years, without really trying, I became quite an efficient side-stroker. You can do the same thing with aqua aerobics, or walking the reverse lazy pool, or whatever exercise you like. Enjoy what you are doing and one day, you too will look up and say, “not bad!”
The Advantage of being Near-sighted
I’m very near sighted. I leave my glasses in the locker when I swim. When I step into the hot tub with people, I’m not aloof, I just don’t recognize you, so please say hi! Since I’m a pretty shy person in a swim suit, I decided to think that everyone in the pool is as near-sighted as me, and really can’t see more than shape and movement and hear friendly conversation. So now, the pool to me is a very friendly place. That’s my pool advantage!
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