Krissie: The swimming pool

Not sure if Barbara will make it here today so I’ll talk a little about exercise. I freaking love the pool. It’s a huge one, and kept relatively warm, and it’s not too terribly far away (25 miles) plus my new car gets great gas mileage. Anyway, I get over there, hobble into the handicapped entrance and there’s the pool, usually with only two or three people in it and almost all of them are in lap lanes. I have this huge section to myself or one or two others.
I wear my bathing suit under my clothes and bring underwear along, twist my hair above my head, wrap a flotation belt around me and head into the water.
I can actually do water walking without a flotation belt, but it puts me lower down in the water and the belt just makes things simpler.
In the beginning I’d go and sing songs in my head (Teddy Bears’ Picnic was good for the pace I was doing). Then I found water proof containers for my mp3 players and made up a couple of swimming playlists and brought that. Next step was to listen to books while I did water walking, which was great because I’d just forget what I was doing.
But finally I discovered the perfect and best thing. I plot. I get in the water, move to the deep end, and walk around the deep end, around and around, while I plot and sing. The stories just come to me, the way they used to when I’d lie down, or when I pick up a pen and paper (which for some reason I’m reluctant to do), or go for a drive. Nowadays it’s the water that does it. Yesterday all sorts of ideas came rushing to me while I walked, and the Stones’ song, “Heart of Stone” kept going around in my head as well, so I sang it quietly (the fans etc are pretty loud) while I thought about my hero and his dead twin.
I just wanted to keep going when my hour was up (which has been a problem in the past — I’ve overdone and hurt myself). In fact, I was desperate to go swimming yesterday so I could work on the book, not so much that I wanted to swim.
It doesn’t feel like exercise, though. I walk for close to sixty minutes, but there isn’t any aerobics in it, and it feels so effortless. I move my arms in a mini-swim stroke, I’ll do a cross-country movement along with the walking, and I daydream. But I can’t believe it’s as much exercise as a ten minute walk, and yet I suspect it’s probably more, given the resistance of the water.
I think it’s just that I feel so at peace with the water, one with it, that I don’t think of any kind of resistance.
It’s funny, because I’m not a great swimmer. I can float forever, but I hate to put my face or head in the water, and that precludes a lot of swimming strokes. I’m Taurus with Scorpio rising, and not a lot of water signs that I remember, but I just freaking love water. There’s nothing I love better than floating in my pool in the summer and listening to books.
I wonder if I could deduct the pool fee as a writing expense? Doubt it. And I’m lucky it’s so cheap — $100 for 6 months if you’re over 60 and it’s open all the time. It’s really a gift
Maybe exercise doesn’t always have to feel like a pain in the butt (and elsewhere). Damn, I love the pool.
(And actually is was years ago when I was going to another pool and couldn’t figure out what to do when Barbara Samuel suggested water walking. I’d never heard of such a thing. So she was spreading the gospel even back then.)
Does anyone else have an exercise they really love? I would think some kind of dance exercise would give you that same kind of pleasure. Or walks could probably work the same — I just can’t walk much on dry land because of my knees.
What else makes you feel wonderful and is actually good for you? (And, no, I’m not talking sex. You don’t burn that many calories.)

25 thoughts on “Krissie: The swimming pool

  1. I also love the pool, but for some reason have not been using it much since returning from Aust. Life kid of got in the way. Must remedy that. But I had the best time at RWA in Orlando. My crit partner and I did brainstorming for our next novels while in the pool. We stayed there until almost midnight, talking and laughing. We were total prunes when we got out. And that book became my GH finalist book. So, yeah, water for brainstorming. : )

  2. Not giving legal/accounting/medical advice, but check with your tax advisor: you MIGHT be able to deduct the pool membership as a medical expense if your doctor recommended it, especially in the context of preparing for knee surgery. I believe it’s usually recommended that you strengthen your leg muscles BEFORE knee surgery, so you can the rehab after the surgery. And then if you do the knee surgery, it could be part of the medical recommendation for post-surgical rehab.

    • I was going to suggest this too. Plus, if your doctor recommended that you lose weight then the gym membership can be seen as a medical expense. I do think you’ll need a prescription for it, but your tax advisor should know best.

  3. Kelly S. says:

    Technically, sex is good for a body even though it doesn’t burn a lot of calories.

    The exercise I really enjoy but don’t really do anymore is swing dancing. I took lessons back in the late 90’s. It was so much fun and likely burned a lot of calories. I taught a friend who eventually became husband. He still owes me a night out swing dancing from Valentine’s day about 10 years ago. I also really love swing music so that helps when I’m sitting on the sidelines catching my breath and resting my feet & knees.

    • Auntie JB says:

      I love swing dancing too! Since I’ve gained weight my knees don’t enjoy swing dancing as much as I do, though. There’s an instructor here in town who does weekly classes followed by open dancing and you don’t need a partner for the classes. It’s perfect for a single gal like me.

  4. Maine Betty says:

    I just came from my first Zumba Toning class, I really enjoyed it, slower and not as super loud as a regular Zumba class. I love to dance. I also love yoga class, it forces me to slows down my thoughts. And I love to walk with my dog, it makes us both very happy.

  5. Auntie JB says:

    I enjoy walking, especially “hiking” through the woods. When I walk through my neighborhood I do imaginary landscaping on my neighbors’ homes, mentally chopping down overgrown evergreen trees blocking out sunlight. It’s tough this time of year to walk outside (especially with subzero daily temps) and I yearn for warmer temperatures and the smell of things growing again.

  6. Rouan says:

    Walking is definitely my favorite exercise but I also have a weighted hula hoop which I use daily. It’s easier to use than a traditional hula hoop and is great for core muscles.

    I frequently listen to audiobooks on my MP3 player when I go for a walk; that way I get my exercise and reading done at the same time…and it passes the time nicely too. If. I have something good to listen to I am likely to walk longer so I can keep on with the book.

  7. Alice says:

    Exercise has always been my thinking time. When I was a kid I spent hours on a swing (building up quite the set of biceps) and on my trampoline. I love to run and swim for thinking. I also love Yoga and weight lifting. And ballet! I love ballet because I have to focus entirely on my form so it allows me to leave my worries behind. I love yoga because it’s so calming and I love how powerful lifting weights makes me feel. I’m not very athletic in terms of skill and talent but I love using my body.

  8. Debby says:

    I really like weight training. I do a lot of good thinking while I’m working out on my Bowflex. At this age, I feel that it’s one of the best exercises for my bones, my joints and my mental health.

    I’m not saying I’m in great shape, far from it, but I’ve just restarted my exercise program, and this time I plan to stick to it!

  9. Walking used to be my exercise of choice. If I felt upset or anxious or in a funk, I’d walk. If it was a glorious day out and I felt terrific, I’d walk. If I felt contemplative, I’d walk. When I was a kid and we had our own pool, I’d swim laps for hours, but I can’t stand the level of chlorine in public pools so I’ve given up trying that.

    I also love to dance around while I clean (when I clean … sigh). Great dancey music can help make cleaning less onerous.

  10. Micki says:

    That sounds so lovely! I want to try that — I think I will in February. Especially the exercise and plotting.

    I was thinking about it in January, but I’m really scared of my hair freezing on the way out to the car. Isn’t that the stupidest excuse ever? I wear a scarf, and I go out with semi-wet hair in the morning. OK, I am announcing it here: I will go water-walking eight times in February and have a fabulous time in the water, and if I don’t, I will take up snow-shoeing in March. There (-:. Carrot and stick. (Snow-shoeing is kind of awesome, but it’s a LOT of exercise, and I’ll probably have to get boots that I can strap my snowshoes to. I hate shopping for boots, so that’s a major Stick. Oh, my excuses are legion.)

  11. Redwood Kim says:

    I have really gotten into weightlifting this year. It’s surprising to me, really, but man – I understand the term “pumped up” now. Plus, I find myself petting my awesome arm muscles at stop signs.
    I’m dealing with some injuries that make it hard to work out right now, but I see a physical therapist on Friday. I am going to do a pull-up this year, I am I am I am. How cool is that?

  12. Jane F says:

    You guys! I’m so excited. I got into African Dance even though the instructor told me it was full. twice. I just smiled and asked if I could stay on through the end of the shopping period in case a spot opened up and it did! I feel like this was a breakthrough in seeing no as a speed bump to yes. Not that I want to become rude and demanding. I’m just working on trying to stand up for want I really want.

    I’m taking African dance and ballet lessons. Both are new to me and a form of exercise that feels fun in totally different ways. As Alice said, I love focus on form that leaves no room for my worries in ballet. African dance a completely new way to move my body and is fun and energizing.

  13. Swimming laps in the pool has done wonderful things to my body. Best of all it doesn’t hurt. We walk 3 kilometers practically every day. The last hill is a killer and sometimes I have to stop half way, and that’s okay. Sure I’m stiff and sore when I get up after sitting for a while, but I know from experience if I didn’t exercise, I’d barely be able to move at all.

  14. aunt snack says:

    Singing makes me feel wonderful. It doesn’t melt off the pounds, but it gets your breathing going, stimulates the production of endorphins, and lifts my mood. And it doesn’t cost anything, need any equipment or strain my ripped up knee.

  15. One of the big joys for me since I’ve lost so much weight is the increased ease of movement without pain. I find that I’m loving everything. When I do Zumba, I’m excited because I can keep up. (I tweaked my knee a bit recently so I need to take a little Zumba break but I’ll get back to it.)

    I love walking my dogs, feeling the bounce in my step and the smile in my heart.

    Last August I bought a new bicycle and started riding again for the first time in more than 20 years. I love love LOVE to go bike riding whether it’s in the early morning as the sun comes up or after work in the cool evening air. There’s a marvelous freedom when I know that my body and balance work together, powering me along the road. That freedom was denied to me for so long because of my obesity.

    Then there’s Tai Chi with its slow moves, the strength-building weight shifts, the slow rotations of my spine, my wrists and so on. I revel in the new flexibility in my body where I used to experience only stiffness and soreness.

    It all feels pretty darned miraculous to me.

  16. Eileen A-W says:

    I used to walk everyday but I let things get into my way & stopped. Last summer I would walk my puppy with my daughter. Now that the weather is awful it’s harder. My treadmill has all the stuff I brought home from school after retiring and haven’t made time to really go through it & put studd away. I miss the walking on the treadmill because I would read & it was time for just me. I must get back to it!!! If not for the excerise then for health reasons.

  17. The Stairmaster was my favorite when I exercised a lot. I love yoga because the stretches feel great. Also, yoga is the only group exercise class where I feel comfortable. With most dance or aerobics classes, I would stress that I was going to be out of step or something. I would always want to be back in the room, and sometimes it’s the most crowded part.

    It’s nice to look over at “tags” on this page and see happiness in big letters:)

  18. Kieran says:

    Krissie, I just went to my hip-hop class, and this woman stood right in front of me, literally like six inches in front of me. I thought that maybe she was a newbie like me, so I scooted over some so I wouldn’t kick her. But this is the real story: she’s *not* a newbie, and she just likes to stand there. And if anyone gets in her way, she stands right on top of them. I asked the instructor after class what I should so when someone stands so close–what’s the etiquette, in other words–and she’s the one who told me some people are extremely territorial, and when they do that, they’re telling you to move. She suggested that I move and ignore bee-yotches who do that.

    Grrrr…I don’t like grown women treating an exercise class like an elementary school playground. But I also go there to de-stress, so maybe giving this woman, and other territory seekers, their way, is what I should so. But part of me is sorely tempted to say, “Excuse me, I was here first, and I’d really rather not kick your bony ass.”

    I’m a grownup now. I have skills (shoutout to Napoleon Dynamite fans). I don’t have to give into intimidation.

    What would YOU do?

  19. cathy hineline says:

    Love you. Because of you (and my doctor) i started using our rehab hospital’s pool for exercise. It is only about 5 min from my house so i go 3 days a week. It has really helped my knees. I’m trying to hold off knee replacement. People there are so non judgemental and its so relaxing. I’ve also lost weight, all because of your blog. Thank you.

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