Trying some new exercise can be a bit scary. But – given that I proffer advice daily on taking care of yourself and bravely diving into make change – I knew it was time I found a new way to move. No, I’m not giving up Pilates and all it’s grace and hard work. I just needed some cardio to round out my exercise that worked for me.
First I tried running. It looked like the perfect thing. I would see neighbours hop outside, do a 30 second calf stretch and then run 5 K and come back all cheery and glowing. When I tried there was no glow – just red-faced discomfort and it never seemed to get better despite repeated efforts. It just wasn’t for me and I had to find something else.
One day, sitting in the bleachers, watching my 10th year of swim lessons at St Alban’s with one child or another – I felt my inner Pisces call out that it was time to get in the pool. A little nervous, I took a swim lesson with my daughter, and when reasonably comfortable that I could manage a couple of laps – starting doing lane swim.
I am in the 3rd month of employing the same strategy I ask people at our studio to consider. When starting something new, if you want it to stick, you have to commit. My personal commitment to swimming was this – 3 times a week in the pool for a minimum of 30 minutes. I scheduled it in, got clearance from my husband for the time away from family and got my kids to cheer for me (loudly and often). Most importantly, I used the Franklin Method teaching and took it to heart. Every time I swam I left and noticed how I felt. I then noticed how that feeling changed my outlook, my mood, my eating habits, and even my relationships. I certainly noticed how swimming affected my sense of my body and my body image. Turns out I’m a happier person on the days I swim, and I can turn down those chips a lot better.
It’s been a wonderfully humbling experience. I share the pool with many students and neighbours who are far faster and have far better endurance than I. But, everyone is friendly and I’m beginning to recognize people and have a new community. And I believe that with regular practice I’ll continue to get stronger and faster.
I know that the days are coming when I’ll feel like I can let myself off the hook and skip a day here or there. But I hope my tools for change will come in handy then as they did over the past few months. Be consistent, be daring, get support, and notice how good you feel. And yes, on the other days I do Pilates and the combination makes me feel really great. I hope if you are new to our “sport” you’ll schedule it in, and then look for the pay off in all areas of your life.