“Fitness when it’s hard” week: Rediscovering swimming

Working out right now, for me, is hard. Let me rephrase that. It’s Hard, with a capital “H.” My right shoulder is still funky and my energy level is a little low for a few reasons (I’m sure the seasonal funk of suddenly having it be nighttime at 4:30 p.m. in Seattle is  a part of that). Whatever the reason, the result is this: moving feels harder right now than it has in some time.

Yay for swimming...an all-around fabulous activity, even when you're dragging a little. (Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)
Yay for swimming…an all-around fabulous activity, even when you’re dragging a little. (Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

And that is so not an excuse for me not to be doing any movement at all (tempting though it might be).

On Friday afternoon last week I jumped into a pool for the first swimming workout I’ve done in some time. My shoulder isn’t 100%, so doing a whole lot of hardcore freestyle was not going to be happening. But there’s a pile of kickboards by the pool. Hmmmm. Turns out that kicking—just kicking—is an A-OK workout all on its own. I kept moving for 20 minutes. I huffed and puffed. If you haven’t swum in a while, swimming the first time out is going to feel hard, hard, hard. (It’s an absolutely amazing workout all around.) My goal was that digital clock clicking away above the pool. All I had to do was stay in there for 20 minutes. There was some freestyle, there was some elementary backstroke, and there was a lot of kicking with that kickboard.

What felt good about all of this is that by choosing a decently strenuous exercise to begin with, even if I’m not gangbusters-level awesome at it right now, I’m going to get some movement in. Plus, I’m going to keep on hitting that little synapse in my brain that says “go to gym…have fun.” The one that equates showing up with feeling good that I showed up. Sometimes, that’s what you get by showing up. You get to feel good about it.

There will come a day, hopefully in the not-too-distant future, when I’m back at 100% strength and I’m back to being a total pool badass. That day is not today. But I can still show up and rediscover something that’s really, really good for me—and last Friday, wading around in that pool, that was enough.

Recent Every48 workouts: Friday – a 20-minute SWIM of various effort levels: kick board with arms extended (stretching that shoulder), some freestyle, a little bit of pool running, a little bit of elementary backstroke. I left the pool feeling like I’d earned a gold star for awesomeness.

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