If you're an active person that loves outdoors or live by the lake or beach, adopting a canine companion who's not afraid of water is likely a good idea.
Share via Email Untroubled water … swimming is a route to physical mindfulness. But I like a challenge — I swim in cold water, of course I like a challenge — so I'm going to plunge in. Before that, let's stand at the side of the pool in our swimming costumes; it's as near naked in front of strangers as most of us will ever get.
I've taken advice and am saying no more. I understand that for some people even putting on a costume is difficult, too revealing. The only thing I have to offer here is my limited and anecdotal experience, and for me it's key to the whole thing.
Or if they are, they're doing so silently and then hopefully drowning in their own bile. It doesn't seem to matter what your costume is like; it doesn't seem to matter if you're old or young, big or small, if bits hang off oddly, or you don't have all of them.
It doesn't matter what the past [flubbles lips] years have done to you. It doesn't matter what you've done or not done during those years. There will be nobody chasing you up and down yelling "but your legs are fat and your head's too small and you look …".
Unless you pay them to do so, in which case you probably need help. So I shove my costume on, stick my chin up and stand there, the same as everyone. And yes, OK, we mostly do all have our arms crossed. But here is my body out in the air, and no one is falling over laughing or turning away in disgust.
We are all equal in a swimming cap, as I've been known to say. I like the "c" word. I'm part of a community defined by this one thing and nothing else.
I swim with people I've known for ages, but I don't know much about them outside of this one thing. That can feel quite liberating. Am I a mother, a partner, a success or failure?
In the pool, we all just do what we're capable of, whatever that is. And once you're swimming, no one else is counting, no one muttering "she didn't do much" or "she's slow". We're all here, is what counts. The first bit of a swim is my favourite: I put my shoulders under and ready myself, lift my feet behind me to connect with the wall and push off, arms arrowed ahead and body … for a few seconds … suspended.
Even in the thinking, I can feel the wall under my foot, really trying to get this bit right because it's so satisfying, a good glide. In my mind I'm a line, aerodynamic and forceful. Pull the first arm back, kick a foot, start the clockwork, head still down before the first breath is needed.
As I do the first length, my body starts to wake up, realising what is required; my immediate feelings are about how everything is today, the mechanics of me and it. At the start I'm a little slow. If I was a car, I'd still be in first gear. At the end of the first length I stop, hold on to the bar for a minute and look back to the start.
I'm here, I'm in, I'm doing this thing. My breathing has shifted into the right place; any slight cold-water heart-race or panting has calmed down. I'm deciding again what's already decided: Then I'm conscious swimming. My head engaged, fixed on what my body is doing. Finding the flow, the catch, spearing my arm in.
A physical mindfulness, and for a person who still hides behind the bike sheds for most "organised sports", it's a revelation. Whatever I feel about my body, right now it'll do nicely.
I can start to stretch out and enjoy how clever I'm being. Imagine being able to do this — how ridiculous! It's like I can fly!8. Swimming farther than any normal person could ever imagine.. I love talking to normal people, or even other athletes, and telling them my event is the mile.
Swim England and GLL bid to reconnect families in real life in Love Swimming initiative, encouraging families to dedicate a window for swimming every week.
The first reason that I love swimming is that it can be extremely relaxing. I love the feeling of floating on the water and feeling almost weightless.
I find that whenever I leave the pool I feel totally relaxed. I tried swimming with the local Masters group but the coach focused on the triathletes who had bad strokes and high fitness. I had a good stroke and low fitness, and I found all the drills to be boring and I wanted to spend the time I had allocated to fitness actually swimming.
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