|The Skinny Daily Post™
Short, daily essays on weight loss and fitness
from a really average woman who lost 100 lbs.
and works every day to keep it off.
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Friday, January 23, 2004
I went to our community pool the other day. That's not unusual. I have belonged to the pool for a couple of years. My pool time is early in the morning, weekdays. Grownups everywhere. But this was a Saturday afternoon, and I was under the wing of my niece. I am still recovering.
I had no idea what my pool looks like on a Saturday afternoon. Kids. Everywhere. From tiny little tykes who have a hard time walking a straight line on a good day, much less while shivering and wet, to gigantic lugs who lope quickly enough around the edges of the pool to force the lifeguards to actually use their whistles.
I've never heard the whistle in use at that pool. But on a Saturday afternoon it goes off almost constantly, because the pool is crowded with wet young people.
My pool experiences take place in much emptier lanes where I churn dutiful laps in varying sets and strokes, alternating counts in a feeble attempt to keep things interesting. I usually pick the same lane, and swim at the same time with the same people.
But my niece works the pool this way: First you go to the water slide, and climb the stairs and slide down a half a dozen times, and then you go whirl in the whirlpool (not the hot tub, but the swirly thing that spins you around to anchor the nausea you picked up from the slide), and then go stand under a thing that dumps buckets of water on your head, and then dive into the big pool to toss a basketball around, and then over to the T-Bar, where you glide through the air for the length of the pool while hanging like a monkey and then back-flop into the water when you get to the end, and then you take on the big float-walk, where you try to walk across a floating sausage roll without slipping off into the water, and back onto the T-Bar, and then back to the slide and around. A few laps in between.
I'm not sure, but I think you can burn 780 calories per hour doing the pool this way.
Well, it turns out there is not upper age limit on this equipment. And she didn't want to do these things by herself. And I have given myself an able body, after all. What good is a functioning body if you aren't going to use it? Right?
Sure, I felt a little silly. Sure, I behaved in an age-inappropriate way. Of course, I was triple and quadruple the age of my nearest playmate.
But I did it. Because it was there. Because I could do all of these things. It wasn't long ago that maneuvering any of this equipment was outside of my ability and functionally impossible. I would have stuck in the slide, would have been too big to whirl, would not have tossed a basketball while treading water, because I couldn't tread water. The T-Bar. Well, we don't have to discuss the T-Bar.
While my nieces stay with me, we're having fun horsing around on my exercise balls, dancing, or trying to imitate the dancing we see in the movies we're watching.
I have friends who kid me about my new exercise routines. They wonder why I work so hard, when the body I need is one that can comfortably sit in front of a computer all day. Am I not overshooting my necessary fitness level? And they make a valid argument. We don't need to work as hard as Amish folks do. We don't need to grow our food or chase it down. Most of my days do not require the upper body strength I've been working so hard to develop.
But there are a few of those days. Raking leaves days, splitting wood days, clearing the garage days, washing dogs days, and days when your niece insists on gliding over a bright blue pool on a T-bar and back-flopping into the water. On these days having strength enough to do what must be done is a great thing.
I wasn't strong enough to play with these kids almost the entire time they were growing up. I missed a lot. I am so grateful I had the chance to get my strength back before they became "too old" for play. I hope to stay in shape so that I can play with their kids.
And you? Do you remember playing? Are you able to play with the kids in your life? Would you if you could? Are you able to play at things that you know you would enjoy if you were strong enough, fit enough, confident enough? Or have you given up things you wish you hadn't?
Play is a very good reason to get in shape. A functioning body lets you face water slides and wave pools without fear. Well, okay, not without fear, but without excuses. And while that might not sound like a good thing? Trust me, it is so good.
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