One of the greatest gifts my father gave me was putting me in the lake where I grew up at 6 months old…..by 18 months old I was swimming on my own. By 4 years old I had become a proud member of the Polar Bear Club, founded by my dad. This was the greatest club ever. I learned very young the importance of being part of a team…which would later translate into community.I remember my father holding me, belly down on top of the icy cold water and I would kick and pull as fast as I possibly could. I loved it! I never wanted to get out of the water. As a matter of fact, every beautiful summer morning my brother and I would make the long walk out onto the dock, shivering, with my dad, wrapped in our green and white stripped towels. My dad was always the first one in the freezing cold water. It was awesome to watch him make that plunge….he looked like a whale. We would get in the water first thing in the morning and we would not come out until we were summoned by my mother or grandmother. This was easily six o’clock in the evening.
We spent an entire life in the lake. My competitive drive had been unleashed, and I was only four years old.
The water has always been my sanctuary, that place where I can just be. I feel free and peaceful when I am swimming. For me, swimming provides a workout unmatched by anything else physical or mental I have ever done. I will never have to stop swimming, or exercising in the water. It is something I can comfortably and safely do for the rest of my life. I am counting on it! Being in the water is so natural, it feels right. After all, humans lived inside a water-filled sack for 9 months of gestation. Water is one of the natural WONDERS OF THE UNIVERSE. We cannot live without water. Food maybe for a while, never water!
Our bodies are 90% buoyant in the water. This means there is very little impact on our weight bearing joints. ….this is exactly why it feels so good. That being said, it is wise to wear water exercise shoes in the pool. An old pair of gym shoes will do! Here’s why….. Shoes will protect the bottoms of your feet, give you traction while walking, lunging and plunging through the water, and protect your joints even though the impact is minimal. Every little bit helps, when it comes to taking care of our precious body parts.