I cannot recall the first time I tried to swim nor can I remember much about my early aquatic experiences. I do know that whatever happened left a lasting impression. Decades later, swimming remains a part of my weekly routine. It became a lifelong endeavor.
During my childhood, my parents added a pool to our backyard. It was a treat to be able to swim at home. My attachment to water sports was initiated. For many summers, I attended an overnight camp in northern Wisconsin. The chilly twice daily dips into Lake Franklin left me longing for a temperature controlled pool. Despite the cold and my fear of leaches, I learned how to swim. I became a lifeguard. A couple years later, I was a junior counselor at Camp Nicolet in Eagle River, Wisconsin. I taught young girls how to swim. At Highland Park High School, I auditioned for the coveted synchronized swim club, “the Penguins” and became a proud member. My comfort zone in water continued.
I encourage all parents to provide swimming lesson for their children. The value of swimming is priceless. Knowing how to swim can be a lifesaver. It can prevent an accidental drowning and it is also an avenue for a fit lifestyle. Research studies indicate that a weekly swimming routine can add years to a person’s life.
As a young adult, I sought out exercise clubs that had the added perk of a pool. While I’ve never developed any speed, I relish my ability to swim for long stretches of time. Rhythmic breathing and creating various patterns with my strokes can be mesmerizing. My mind floats to a different place as the process consumes me. A swimmers’ high is an invigorating feeling that I wish more could appreciate. The inconveniences associated with swimming can be overshadowed by these positive feelings that are unmatched by other activities.
Throughout my adulthood, I have turned to swimming to help me recuperate from many orthopedic issues and surgeries. Although aquatic sports have always been part of my exercise routine, my swimming has ebbed and flowed as my interest in maintaining a fit life fluctuated. While living in India, swimming provided a unique respite from the intense heat and the stress of being separated from my husband and family. I was able to escape to my own world as I swam back and forth in the international school’s pool. I was thrilled that the campus had this perk even though the teaching staff could only swim an hour each day.
Currently, I am visiting the Lakeshore Athletic Club pool 2-3 times a week. On those days, I combine a swimming routine with aquatic exercises. Whatever stress I felt going into the water evaporates by the time I step out. My mind is cleared of distractions and my ideas flow without hesitation. If I could handle the effects on my skin and hair, I would definitely add another day or two of aquatic sports to my routine.
The benefits of swimming are immense. Has swimming changed your life?
I recently wrote several blogs that were published on the Smart Healthy Women website. If aquatic activities are not part of your life, I encourage you to reconsider.
If you choose to incorporate a weekly swimming plan into your life, please consider sharing your experience. I’d love to hear about your progress.
The memoir was a finalist in the Travel category for the 2013 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, the 2013 International Book Awards, and the 2013 National Indie Book Excellence Awards.