One of my goals this summer was to start swimming again.
Prior to 2008, my relationship with pools and oceans could best be described as “drown-proof”. I liked being in the water, but had never done a lap, or swam for exercise. Then I had the bright idea to become the most Unlikely Triathlete. It was time to learn how to really swim, instead of just splashing around.
And guess what? I loved it!
For a few years I incorporated swimming into my fitness regime, alternating it with running, biking and weight lifting. Since then, my body has let me know that it needs more gentle exercise, so I learned to lean more heavily on yoga. But somewhere along the way, swimming fell to the wayside. And boy have I missed it.
And I didn’t know how much, until I got in the pool again a few weeks ago. Something about being in the water is so liberating! Part of me feels like a mermaid; the other part has such clarity of thought it’s almost frightening.
Once I get into the rhythm of my strokes, the laps are like moving meditation and stress management. All I can hear are the sounds of my breathing, regular and deep. I start by counting my strokes between each breath – 1, 2, 3, breathe, 1, 2, 3, breathe. The water sluicing over my skin feels surprisingly sensuous and therapeutic. I can feel my abs tighten with every long stroke.
Who knew you could get great abs from swimming? You can!
The benefits of swimming include the fact that it is an incredible full-body workout, while putting near zero stress on joints (read: fewer injuries!) in the process.
Even if you can’t swim, use a kick board to help with flotation or even just walk in the water as an effective way to exercise that’s so gentle to your body. In fact, I go r-e-a-l-l-y slowly, and still get a great workout.
What are you waiting for?! Jump in; the water’s great!