Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Why Do People Think I Swim Laps?

Shiloh Swimming Pool
When people hear that I go to the pool for fitness, they take for granted that I swim laps.They are inevitably shocked to hear that I don't swim laps. Actually, I don't even swim, at least not anything that resembles one of the strokes I had been taught well over half a century ago.

And, no, I'm not afraid of the water, not even deep water. I've never had any problems floating and paddling around a pool or lake or whatever for as long as I can remember.

And I certainly had proper swimming lessons, at a Y one year and at all sorts of camps. I was also taught in school. In Great Neck North the junior high school had a pool, and swimming was on the required curriculum.

My head could do the "Crawl" the basic swimming, racing and lap stroke, but somehow, I was so painfully slow and de-energized I could never swim enough lengths or laps or swim quickly enough to graduate from Advanced Beginner. I never, ever passed a "Deep Water Test," the requirement to be permitted into the deeper end of the pool or lake. It didn't matter that I could do the Side Stroke or Elementary Back Stroke for long periods of time. They are both slow relaxing strokes, which I found suited my "swimming style." Of course I did them more slowly than anyone else.

In Junior High we were required to do twenty-five pool lengths of each stroke to pass that part of the required curriculum. I started with the Elementary Back Stroke, and it took me the entire lesson, a lot longer than anyone else. I was so exhausted afterwards that it was decided to exempt me from the requirement.

Here I am over fifty years later, and I probably spend more time in the pool than many who passed Swimming. Nowadays I don't even do the strokes I once loved, because they are bad for my knees. Instead, I dance in the water. I do all sorts of exercises; some I learned and others I've made up.

As a dancer who trained for almost two decades and former dance and sports teacher, I firmly believe that exercise requirements must be flexible. Any activity you do in the water which is more than standing still or floating on some sort of raft is good. The same goes for most any exercise. Fifteen minutes or a few minutes of stretching here and there is better than nothing. It may not be the same as a good workout, but it's definitely worth keeping up!



Anonymous said...

I enjoyed this post. Exercise, even a few minutes a day, is good for you, even if you don't think it is worth it.

You lived in Great Neck? I lived in West Islip, Babylon and also Huntington, while growing up.

-Lorri M.

Batya said...

Lorri, I was born in Brooklyn, moved to Bayside as an infant and then at 13 to Great Neck. Then after getting married moved much further east...

Anonymous said...

My paternal grandparents lived in Brooklyn.

Small world. Zeh olam katan!

Batya said...

Both my parents were born and grew up in Brooklyn

goyisherebbe said...

You don't have to answer to anyone. If it keeps you happy and healthy, you're good!