Swimming cap pulled on tight, smoothed down to keep out the water. Goggles adjusted and dipped in the water to ensure against fogging, I would put on my nose peg and dip into the pool. It required steely determination… well a dose of self-discipline anyway, to make myself get up and out, early in the day. After I had stopped earning a living, I felt that I needed to counteract my natural propensity for long lie-ins and so I set about swimming regularly. No excuses, there’s a council pool within a mile of my house and I decided to learn how to swim more efficiently. At school I had always been an endurance swimmer, not one designed for speed or sleek efficiency. I was encouraged to use my breaststroke to pass the life-saving exams and I was pretty good at picking up a brick from the bottom of the pool, if I say so myself. If ever I see a brick in need of saving, I will be the first to volunteer to save it, as long as I have my nose peg with me.
Over two years I managed to increase the number of lengths I could swim in each session and even worked out how to swim the crawl, using You Tube tutorials to get the all-important alternate breathing technique. As you can imagine, breathing is key to the whole process!
The reality of swimming regularly was that the swimming hat was difficult to get on and off and still left my hair in need of washing and drying each and every time I swam. The body de-hairing process was never-ending and after each session you had to get rid of the clinging smell of chlorine, which was also a reminder that you were swimming in a chemical in order to counteract swimming in other people’s germs. Eeugh!
You may not be surprised to know, that my swimming phase lasted only two winters. I enjoyed the tone of my muscles but not enough to force myself into the water several times a week.
Fast forward then to 2016 when I strained my neck and then my back in quick succession, I can’t even remember how. Gardening probably. The strains were minor and only lasted a week at the most but they reminded me that I was becoming less flexible and could look forward to more aches and pains unless I did something about it. I get most of my exercise walking and cycling but neither help much with flexibility.
This is how I ended up last week clutching two tins of chopped tomatoes, swinging them about in front of the tv. They were in lieu of weights, for my sculpting Pilates routine and although a bit lighter than recommended, I figured that less is more as they were to hand and I don’t possess any 1 – 2 lb weights. My Pilates DVD is an old friend from a previous phase and is split into five 10 minute sessions. I am now working on my core muscles, building up the muscle strength, hoping to guard against further strains and sprains. The only limitation this week, is that my knees are black, blue and an attractive hue of yellow after falling off my bicycle last week. Still, onwards, ever onwards!