My swim journey began late in life. I was over forty, basically looking for a way to ease hot flashes by any means necessary even if that meant exercise. I had gained at least ten pounds per decade and wasn’t happy with the expanding direction of my body. So, I searched for a way, in truth, to do as little as possible in order to stay healthy. As I thought about aging and fitness, I remembered the rule, ‘do what you love because you’re going to be doing it for a life time,’ and for me that meant being in water. Even as a young child, I was always on board for going to a pool or beach. When I finally got up the nerve to take a swim class, I didn’t know what I was in for. Who knew that swimming was hard work? I certainly didn’t, and went about this experience the same way I had got about everything else – I just jumped right in.
There I was at the local pool in Roy Wilkins Park, scared, old-er, practically nude, cold (the water was frigid), and wet. Then, unfortunately, for approximately five lessons, I was an uncoordinated mess. So, on top of being freezing and soaked, I was also embarrassed. I didn’t kick properly and was told to use a kick board and to go back and forth in the pool, width-wise until exhaustion. I wasn’t able do the freestyle crawl arm movements and was yelled at, I mean, coached to practice out of the water (all night, if need be). Plus, I had trouble putting these two elements together (arms and legs) and on top of all that breathe. It was comical!
Yet, when the instructors asked me to swim across the pool lengthwise on lesson seven out of ten, I was one of the few students unafraid to venture into the deep. I did not know how much I loved deep water and of all the absurd things, I felt more comfortable there. Let me remind you, I still couldn’t swim. There is a metaphor for life in this somewhere. By lesson ten, TO EVERYONE’S AMAZEMENT, I swam across the pool, one complete, somewhat graceful, lap.
Before I knew it, weeks later, I was swimming lap-s. It was a complete shock to me that I started my training a month prior and was now cruising up and down the lanes like a real swimmer and of all the marvelous things, I had actually loss twenty-five pounds. For the first time in my life, I wasn’t even trying to lose weight and did so anyway, and I did it quickly.
Now, I swim three days a week and together with walking, I have managed to maintain my desired weight without starving myself. The hot flashes eased up too.
My lessons learned from swimming are vast; some in the form of bravery, others in coordination, stamina, and strength, a slimmer body, and a whole new set of friends, making what I’ve received in the process far outweigh the effort.
FACT: Weight loss varies by your weight: A 130-pound person swimming freestyle for one hour will burn 590 calories swimming fast, and 413 calories swimming slower.
WHY I WANT TO HELP PEOPLE
I want to teach the whole world to swim as a way of maintaining health in one of the most enjoyable ways. I think it’s one of the best exercises around. If you’ve tried everything other than swimming for weight loss, give it a try. The benefits are astounding; increasing heart health, relaxation, low impact strength training, good on joints, it doesn’t require expensive equipment (other than the pool, of course, and there are plenty of free ones throughout every city), and, it’s a great way to lose weight!
THE GOAL OF THIS SITE
The entire goal of this site is to create a space where swim enthusiasts can learn, share and encourage one other on their path to a healthier lifestyle.