No, I did not just become Olive Oyl [(1)]. Ha! But rather, I have returned to swimming laps each morning before work–hence, the porpoise [(2) right] reference. I swim up with the breast stroke and back with the back stroke. I’m actually quite strong in my backstroke and I’m starting to cause wakes as I swim. My husband jokes that soon he will be able to water ski behind me. Ha!
I love swimming! I am naturally buoyant–and you can read into that whatever you want. Just please don’t refer to my girls as flotation devices. Ha! Water [(3) left] is soothing and it is definitely my milieu. I started out my new swim regimen with 20 lengths (x 25 yards) of the pool every day three weeks ago and I’m gradually adding more lengths as I go. This week I’m up to swimming 26 lengths of the pool each morning and I will do that another week before increasing my swimming to 30 lengths each day. I want to build up my strength and my stamina before moving on to the next level to both avoid injury and to let my heart adjust to my exercising again. I will hold steady when I reach 50 lengths of the pool in a 45 minute period.
Actually, I swam 50 lengths of the pool in 45 minutes when I was in bride training 22.5 years ago before my husband and I were married. My focus as I swam then was on walking down the church aisle in my wedding gown. Then, I was swimming toward my husband. Now? Amusingly, there is a sign on the wall at the end of the swim lane I tend to use. It says walk. Ha! And I often meditate as I swim–the water is very soothing and relaxing. However, my goals now are just to become healthier, gain more flexibility, and continue my weight loss trend of the past few years–that has seen me drop almost three dress sizes, and keep the weight I have lost off. See my previous post where I mention using a CPAP breathing machine when I sleep at night [(4)]. But for another incentive, I also have a lovely navy blue satin cocktail dress I bought on sale that is still 2 sizes too small for me that I would like to wear for the holidays in a few months time. Well, I do fit into the dress now, but I look like a blue satin sausage. Ha!
And swimming is a nice low impact exercise choice for someone like me with arthritis issues. Too much tennis as a teen (2 to 4 hours every day in the Summer) killed my knees, and I am due for knee replacement surgery in a few years. With my arthritis, I have to be careful not to overdo and injure myself. Years ago on vacation, I was over zealous in my scissor kick in doing the breast stroke and I strained my quadricep adductor muscle [(5) image right]–that means my inner thigh muscle near my groin. If I hadn’t been in so much pain, I would have had to look that term up myself. Ha! But after several weeks of physical therapy–gradually stretching that muscle group–I was back to normal. Whew!
And my heart is already doing really well with my swimming now. When I donated a pint of my AB Positive blood last week at a local American Red Cross blood drive–as part of some of Richard Armitage fandom’s SpReAd the Love campaign [(6)]–the Red Cross nurses also check your blood pressure [(7)] as part of their check-in procedure. My blood pressure was an astounding 112/68! My blood pressure has never been that low in recent memory. Heck! I can’t ever recall it being that low–or that healthy! I’m on a roll with this swimming exercise thing! And I love the endorphins rush! Snap!
Now you might ask me, how did I get over my shyness about appearing in a swim suit in public (even a one piece) as a chubby gal? Since the public pool and now the gym that we joined this week with two heated indoor pools has other people in it. Ha! Because, let’s face it, modern day swim suit attire doesn’t often cover the basics like it did in the 1920’s [(8) left]. And I am a rather modest conservative lady. Even when–or maybe especially when–I wear dresses and blouses, my neckline does not dip low enough to hint at my voluptuousness (translation: no breast crevice showing). Nor do my hemlines often show my knees. Ha! That is not to say that I dress like a nun–no offense to nuns. I just believe in dressing in feminine and professional clothing that doesn’t hawk my wares. Ha! However, my loungewear attire around our home is more of the empire waisted, support my girls, variety that my husband lets me know he appreciates. *wink*
Getting back to why I’m not shy about being seen in my one piece swim suit (it does have a skirt on it, ha!)–and I have a stockpile of several swim suit styles and sizes to choose from. I am swimming for my health. So though I may not look like a beauty queen–and I will never be Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition worthy–I am endeavoring to improve my health. I am a work in progress. Those skinny gals who want to lose 5 lbs–when they really need to gain 15 lbs–neither bother nor intimidate me. I have a challenge ahead of myself–goals that I want to reach that have nothing to do with other women nor the mediated images of female beauty that are out there today. I have already lost 70 pounds using a CPAP breathing machine at night–the sleep diet is what I called it, Ha!–and eating healthily, plus medication that recalibrates my low metabolism issues.
But I had hit a plateau in my weight loss. So now my swimming exercise will hopefully take me to the next level of health and I will achieve more weight loss. And I lost 9 lbs in the first two weeks of swimming! Snap! Should I tell you how much more I would like to lose? Would it shock you? It might. But if my honesty and forthrightness might help even one other person put away their fears and start doing something for themselves, then it will be worth it. Drum roll please. I want to lose 100 pounds more–which will put me under my wedding weight and close to what I weighed when I entered college 35 years ago as a 17 year old–before my metabolism veered wildly out of control.
So although I wear a very modest one piece skirted swim suit when I swim my laps, when (not if) I reach my goal weight I might just go skinny dipping sometime–something that I have never done. And if my then version of a svelte shape looks like a Titian painting representing full bodied and curvy female beauty in 1520–as reflected in his painting “Venus Anadyomene” (translation: Venus Rising from the Sea) [(9) image right]? I will be well pleased. Here is to curvy woman kind! Snap! Snap!
Finally, at the risk of drawing an unfavorable comparison to myself, I always loved watching Esther Williams synchronized swimming movies on the classic movie channel when I was growing up. She displayed such grace and athleticism–that I will never hope to attain. But she is inspiring. So here is a lovely video [(10)] by poeticjustice2345 titled “Esther Williams: Princess Mermaid” with a compilation of some of her filmed water sequences:
P.S. So Dear Readers, What goals or challenges have you set for yourself? It doesn’t have to involve exercise or health–just something that you love and that makes you happy. Indulge yourself and focus on you for a change! You deserve it! And if you wish, please share here what that is. Cheers! Grati ;->
1) Olive Oyl reference at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olive_Oyl
2) Porpoise info may be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Porpoise ; Two Dalls porpoise image reference is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Two_Dalls_Porpoises.JPG
3) Glistening water image was found at http://fc06.deviantart.net/fs21/f/2007/233/b/a/Water_by_RosalineStock.jpg
4) CPAP machine and weightloss mentioned in this post, https://gratianads90.wordpress.com/2011/12/31/happy-new-years-eve-welcome-2012-123111-gratiana-lovelace-post-92/
5) Quadricep Adductor Muscle information and image were found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adductor_longus_muscle
6) “SpReAd the Love” campaign was initiated by the Funky Blue Dandelion blogger for Valentine’s Day 2012. She is continuing this effort to honor Richard Armitage’s upcoming 41st birthday August 22, 2012. And information about how you can participate may be found at http://funkybluedandelion.blogspot.com/2012/07/off-road-spreading-love.html
7) Blood pressure information was found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood_pressure
8) 1920’s swim attire is a portrait of some beauty queen bathing beauties found at http://comfortinnbrooksky.com/blog/swim-wear-of-the-century
9) “Venus Anadyomene”, the “Venus Rising from the Sea” painting by Titian and information about it was found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venus_Anadyomene_(Titian)
10) “Esther Williams: Princess Mermaid” a video by poeticjustice2345 with a compilation of some of her filmed water sequences was found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xYW64moSLKg