Thursday, June 19, 2014

Swimming for exercise

I've taken up swimming again - many many years after I last gave it up. At a couple of stages in my life I swam heaps; at uni and then again when we lived in Port Moresby. I was working in the PNG public service (hours 8.00 - 4.06) and my husband was at the embassy (hours 9.00 - godknowswhen) so I would spend the hours between 4.06 and godknowswhen going slowly up and down the 25 metre pool at one of the compounds. It was lovely actually - tropical twilight and I worked my way up from 20 lengths to 100 (which took about an hour! Fast I am not....)

Anyway I hadn't swum for exercise since then - like most things, it's a pain with children - and the cancer surgery meant I couldn't lift my arm above the horizontal for two years. It's something to do with the lymph nodes and they said it would resolve in a couple of years ... I was horrified at the time but it did! And now I finally have my mobility back, so I thought I would like to take up ocean swimming down at our peaceful little beach. But before I do that I really should make sure I have some swimming capability, so the past few weeks I've been slowly going up and down our local pool.

I don't think it's very good exercise. Because I have such a high proportion of body fat, I float easily, which means I can propel myself through the water without much effort. And for me swimming has always been more contemplative than sprinting, and I have a relaxed stroke. Back at uni when I was doing a lot of swimming I read an article in Cosmopolitan or Dolly or some other equally authoritative source that said if you always breathe on the same side you will get overdeveloped muscles on one side and NEVER get a boyfriend. That seemed logical to me at the time, so I moved to breathing every third stroke on alternate sides. It took a few lengths of choking down water before I got the hang of it but it was worth it. Now I have a stroke that lets me trudge along very slowly for quite some time...

Anyway, I am currently in Jakarta for work and spent an hour after our meetings today in the hotel pool, swimming up and down and up and down. The photo above is the actual pool - although I didn't take the photo, just stole it from some other site. Much nicer in an outdoor pool in the tropics than the slightly grubby and very warm pool in Canberra, and that's before you add in the piles of fluffy towels AND the fact that the minute you drop your clothes and jump in they put iced water and juice beside your chair for when you get out AND when I was resting afterwards I couldn't get comfortable and I looked up and there was someone with two folded towels to put behind my head AND when I left they said "thank you for using our pool today".  I think my local pool needs to lift its game...


  1. i would be so spoiled... enjoy!

  2. Looks lovely,Lyl. How long are you up there? I'm delighted you've gone back to swimming.

  3. I have been swimming since I was about 4 and I think it is my favorite way to exercise. I think my favorite thing about it is that I am not putting strain or stress on my body. When I got to the gym, I can only do so much weight and when I go running, it's not for long.

    Alvin @ Selective Designs

  4. Such a good idea. I have been trying to get my grandfather to start swimming. Other exercise just hurts his joints and muscles too much. But he does not like to swim so he refuses. Maybe if I just sit him down and tell him that I am concerned for him, he will listen to me. He is hard headed.

    David Moore @ Backyard Rescues