Not sure if Barbara will make it here today so I’ll talk a little about exercise. I freaking love the pool. It’s a huge one, and kept relatively warm, and it’s not too terribly far away (25 miles) plus my new car gets great gas mileage. Anyway, I get over there, hobble into the handicapped entrance and there’s the pool, usually with only two or three people in it and almost all of them are in lap lanes. I have this huge section to myself or one or two others.
I wear my bathing suit under my clothes and bring underwear along, twist my hair above my head, wrap a flotation belt around me and head into the water.
I can actually do water walking without a flotation belt, but it puts me lower down in the water and the belt just makes things simpler.
In the beginning I’d go and sing songs in my head (Teddy Bears’ Picnic was good for the pace I was doing). Then I found water proof containers for my mp3 players and made up a couple of swimming playlists and brought that. Next step was to listen to books while I did water walking, which was great because I’d just forget what I was doing.
But finally I discovered the perfect and best thing. I plot. I get in the water, move to the deep end, and walk around the deep end, around and around, while I plot and sing. The stories just come to me, the way they used to when I’d lie down, or when I pick up a pen and paper (which for some reason I’m reluctant to do), or go for a drive. Nowadays it’s the water that does it. Yesterday all sorts of ideas came rushing to me while I walked, and the Stones’ song, “Heart of Stone” kept going around in my head as well, so I sang it quietly (the fans etc are pretty loud) while I thought about my hero and his dead twin.
I just wanted to keep going when my hour was up (which has been a problem in the past — I’ve overdone and hurt myself). In fact, I was desperate to go swimming yesterday so I could work on the book, not so much that I wanted to swim.
It doesn’t feel like exercise, though. I walk for close to sixty minutes, but there isn’t any aerobics in it, and it feels so effortless. I move my arms in a mini-swim stroke, I’ll do a cross-country movement along with the walking, and I daydream. But I can’t believe it’s as much exercise as a ten minute walk, and yet I suspect it’s probably more, given the resistance of the water.
I think it’s just that I feel so at peace with the water, one with it, that I don’t think of any kind of resistance.
It’s funny, because I’m not a great swimmer. I can float forever, but I hate to put my face or head in the water, and that precludes a lot of swimming strokes. I’m Taurus with Scorpio rising, and not a lot of water signs that I remember, but I just freaking love water. There’s nothing I love better than floating in my pool in the summer and listening to books.
I wonder if I could deduct the pool fee as a writing expense? Doubt it. And I’m lucky it’s so cheap — $100 for 6 months if you’re over 60 and it’s open all the time. It’s really a gift
Maybe exercise doesn’t always have to feel like a pain in the butt (and elsewhere). Damn, I love the pool.
(And actually is was years ago when I was going to another pool and couldn’t figure out what to do when Barbara Samuel suggested water walking. I’d never heard of such a thing. So she was spreading the gospel even back then.)
Does anyone else have an exercise they really love? I would think some kind of dance exercise would give you that same kind of pleasure. Or walks could probably work the same — I just can’t walk much on dry land because of my knees.
What else makes you feel wonderful and is actually good for you? (And, no, I’m not talking sex. You don’t burn that many calories.)