When it comes to working out, I've been advised by my doctor not to do any exercises that force me to pull up on the top of my foot and potentially cause more damage to my tendons. Basically, don't insert your foot into anything that has a strap across the top (peace out, spinning!). I've been practically living on the elliptical machine since I'd been given clearance to work out, but it was getting boring. I kept seeing people working themselves into a lather on the stair climbers. The gym has 4 brand-new ones that are in constant use. I figured if one ever opened up, I'd give it a go.
Let me tell you, that stair climber is no joke! I set a personal goal of 30 minute or 300 calories, whichever came first. By the end of the first song on my work-out mix, I had talked myself down to 3 minutes, which was the duration of the next song! Seriously, I tried slowing down the pace, but that was making me snag my foot on the lip of the next step. Not wanting to faceplant and then bodysurf down the treads, I upped the pace, but my arms were the ones getting the workout, since I was holding on for dear life. The woman next to me started to alternate walking up the stairs in a traditional manner, then walking up the stairs leading with her left foot in a side step, then rotating and leading with her right foot. I was waiting to see if she was going to do it backwards, but she must have been fearing the faceplant/bodysurf combo and changed her mind.
I will say, I was in a flop sweat almost immediately and that, to me, is always a good judge of how well and how hard I've work out. So, I decided to keep the stair climber in the mix. It's been a few weeks, and I'm getting bored again. I haven't been back to kettlebells, I doubt I'll go back to the studio. When the weather gets warmer, I'll swing my own bells like I was doing before. In the interim, I'm looking for something else to work multiple muscle groups at once. I tried doing one of those barre classes; there was a Groupon for three classes for the price of one. It was a good deal, but I ended up losing money because I had to hire a sitter to keep the wee one so I could go to class. Not cost effective. Plus, we're already paying for a gym that has childcare; I needed to find something else.
I was chatting with a friend of mine who had done both kettlebell and barre with me. She mentioned how she took up swimming after a serious injury. Swimming. . .interesting.
Now, I do know how to swim. I was never one of those girls growing up who was afraid of getting her hair wet and never learned. I did take lessons. We belonged to the community pool and I fought long and hard to pass the requisite levels so I could move from kiddie pool, to mid pool, to full access. There was a badge system in place - yellow, purple, and red. You had to wear your badge on your suit and the lifeguards were eagle eyed about it. If you were a yellow badge in the deep end? Forget it! Automatic whistle blow and swim of shame to shallower waters. So, I worked hard to get that red badge for all access. I can remember treading water like my life depended on it. Actually, it did; I'd just swum across the length of the pool after diving in. If I couldn't keep my head up, it was going to be back to purple badge-dom.
Fast forward to college. I took scuba diving as my phys ed. requirement. Not a lot of "our kind of people" in that class, let me tell you. Our dives were limited to the pool in Kinesiology building, but it was still a great experience. Somewhere along the way, I retained enough information to keep myself safe in the water.
After the girls were of an age, I wanted them to be good swimmers, too. It's not about being an Olympian, though that would be nice (I'm sure there are lots of scholarships for Black swimmers). It's not about flipping around in the pool during the summer and playing Marco Polo with your friends. It's a a life skill that they need to have, plain and simple. So, summer after summer, I signed them up for lessons. You can imagine how that went.
We're at the point where I'll ask them what they plan to do if they go to a pool party and everyone else is in the water. Mo's response, "I'll read a book on the side."
Well, after some thought, I realized, I need to lead by example. My godmother had never learned how to swim and after she retired, at age 65, she learned. Started from scratch with lessons. So, I followed her lead. I signed myself up for some lessons and had my first one yesterday. The thing is, I can swim. I can keep myself afloat, I can get to the edge. I'm not going to win any races, and I'm not going to win any prizes for gracefulness, but I can do it. I just want to do it better. My instructor says I have a good basis; I need to fine tune some things, but the foundation is there.
Today, I am aching in places I haven't thought about since anatomy class (gracilis, anyone?). But it's good, it's very good. I ran into my instructor on the way to the car as I was leaving the gym today and introduced her to Mo, who is home with me on Spring Break. As we were buckling up, Mo was incredulous that I was taking swimming lessons. I reminded her that we'll be able to go to the pool this summer and swim together, to which she replied, "I'm just going to sit on the side and read a book."
This kid. . .