Weight that I had lost before I moved to East Tennessee has returned, thanks to the wonderful cooking of the South. Worse, when I have given blood, I have gotten a lovely letter to thank me for my donation . . . oh, and to tell me that my cholesterol is above normal.
The weight gain is less of a concern than the cholesterol. My family relies on me a lot. I had my eldest when I was 36 and my youngest when I was 39. As an older parent, I feel I have a greater responsibility to make an effort to remain in good health for my kids. As I would tell my clients during divorces, take care of yourself, because your children will need you more as adults than as kids - and their problems then will be adult-sized. The last thing they will need is to also have to care for an elderly parent. This is especially true when so many couples past 40 only have one child - seriously, you want to saddle your child with that?
And so I joined my local YMCA with its 25-yard length pool. At first, I joined Zumba classes = and I still participate in them - but there was a strain on my 51-year-old left knee. Then I decided to join an Aqua Zumba class. Notwithstanding the fact that I friggin' spiked the median age when I first went (the group has been joined by younger folk), I found I enjoyed the overall "tingle" after class, achieved by engaging more of my body and with the added resistance of the water.
Then I thought, okay, I know how to swim, being a former Camp Marydell girl - what if I just "took it easy?" Taking it easy meant limiting myself to two strokes: the side stroke and the back stroke. And - not rushing. Lord know I have enough fat to keep my buoyant. Instead, I took my time and concentrated on the stroke, with its proper form.
|Not me, alas - but I am getting there.|
And it is getting easier. And what I am finding is that while my muscles are fatigued after a swim, they're not sore - and the hot shower in the locker room is Heaven. My "bingo wings" - you know, the upper arm flab - are growing smaller. Today I saw a noticeable indent in my waist.
Do I still look like Shamu in my nerdy black-and-white swim suit? Oh yeah, and add the swim cap and it is even more a comical sight. Do I care? Ah, that is one of the benefits of being over 50 and going through some cognitive therapy when I was in a bad spot earlier this year - I couldn't give a rat's ass how I look. Because I know how it makes me feel . . . strong.
On weekdays, shortly after 6:00 am, the water is smooth as glass. The Y keeps it heated - this morning it was around 80 degrees. Few people, if any, get there that early, but Tyler, the young lifeguard, still must sit in his spot. I have told him, his music does not bother me, so he turns it up and I have upbeat, Christian music playing as I swim (although I can only really hear it on the sidestroke). I am out, showered and dressed, by 8:00 am.
Today, the weekend life guard had on a local pop station that was having a flashback weekend of 70's music - hearing certain songs, I am young again, back at Camp Marydell in Nyack, NY, swimming . . .