Last April, I bought a membership at the local aquatic center to get exercise. I’m not a runner, jogger, bicyclist, or hiker, and only walk short distances due to back problems and asthmatic breathing issues. I envious of those who can do all those things and wish I could follow along, but I’m stuck with what I have and do the best I can.

The aquatic center has a lap circuit area that’s a little bit like a lazy river. The water is three and a half feet deep with a slight current. Thirty laps around is the equivalent of a mile. Some women have bead strings that they keep count of their laps on. I measure time instead of laps, so I don’t have a bead string. It’s a great activity and lets me walk for a long time without any back problems. They have a vortex pool also where you can walk upstream in the current which is much more difficult and strengthens more.

I’ve met a lot of nice people while walking in water. Most are older than me or the same age. I know that because we all have smallpox vaccination spots on our arms. That and the gray hair tells me too. When we’re walking our laps, we smile and discuss safe topics like the weather or how crowded it is that day. Some come with friends and gab the whole time, one walking forward and the other walking backwards so people can easily pass them. A lot of canes and walkers are near the stairs to get into the pool, but until they get out, it’s hard to tell which belongs to who. One lady is on crutches. Her husband helps her into the calm water pool where she does her exercises while he walks laps. Then he helps her out again. It’s quite touching to see the care they have for each other.

There is also a deep pool where the exercise classes and lanes for lap swimming are, and the water is colder. I love going after the classes are over so I can exercise in the deep pool. I’m not a strong swimmer, mostly a dog paddler and floater. I don’t get my head underwater; it makes me claustrophobic which makes me panic which makes me breathe faster which I can’t do underwater. It’s just simpler to keep my face out of the water.

After time in the deep pool, I feel stronger, and my swimming ability is getting better. My workout is much more strenuous in the deeper water where I can work my arms as well as the rest of me. I stay close to the edge where I can pull myself up if I get in trouble, even though a life guard is always on duty. I venture to the ten-foot level and practice treading water which I’m happy to say is pretty good. I can almost swim the length of the 50-meter pool, rest, then swim back. For a desk sitter, that’s pretty good!

The only problem is my swimsuits are fading from the chlorine. I wear very modest ones that I pay a hefty price for which I don’t mind doing; however, my formally navy-blue knee-length shorts are now flesh colored. My almost-knee-length top that had a pretty navy and white floral design, the flowers turned a dark purple, then crimson, and now pink on its way to white. I don’t mind a white suit as long as it doesn’t come apart. Does chlorine deteriorate polyester thread? One lady told me she had to get a new suit every six months. I can’t afford that. Surely there are cheaper modest swimsuits out there somewhere. I’ll be looking for them.

I’m enjoying my time swimming. It’s where I’m most creative. There’s something about how relaxing it is that lets my imagination work really well. Whether I’m walking or swimming, my mind is thinking about the next chapter I’m working on in my books. By the time I come home, I’ve got it planned out, and I can start writing. I’ve never been that productive. I’m hoping it will help me write faster and better and feel better and faster while walking.

That’s a win-win situation.

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