I apologize for the long time between posts. The wife had what we thought was the flu last week. Turns out it was pneumonia. Doctor visits and losing a large chunk of the ol’ paycheck to CVS Pharmacy ensued. I’m happy to report that the fever has broken, her voice has returned and the violent coughs are subsiding. She is also now 8 pounds underweight, and has to make good on her promise to reincorporate meat into her diet until she returns to ideal weight. Of course, you have to do this slowly, so we’re starting with a little seafood, and a few weeks down the road we’ll add in poultry. Red meat and pork will probably never return to her stomach; we imagine seafood and poultry will be enough to get her back in the right spot.

Now, on to happier things.

After yet another long 47-hour day at work, what do you like to do? I’ve talked about swimming before, but it is now my favorite activity. This past Saturday, I incorporated a new move – the corkscrew. This is where you are swimming along and take your dominant arm, hold it close to your body on the opposite side, and pull the arm out wide. Your body will naturally follow your arm and will flip you over on your back. I have another name for this move – REALLY, REALLY FUN. We were learning this in swim class, and at one point I realized my cup of coffee was too far from the pool edger for me to take a drink (my instructor does this too), so I hopped out of the pool to move it. As I did, one of a crew of senior citizen ladies that were doing lap swim in the adjacent lanes passed by me, and she said, “you look like you’re having a lot of fun.”

I certainly was. I love swimming. Taking this on was one of the best decisions I ever made. Swimming doesn’t get near the love it deserves for its benefits. Everyone likes to talk about running marathons, riding bikes, plowing ahead on those goofy elliptical machines and bench presses, but swimming is the total package. It is the best cardio workout in the world (I found that out the hard way in my first lesson when I was out of breath, swallowed water and set off the evacuation alarm). It is strength training to a degree, as the motions give you muscle tone. And if you have arthritis like me, it’s beyond wonderful. My knees never hurt in the pool. Week before last, I stayed in for 2 hours. Also last Saturday, for the first time, I swam from the wall on the deep end to the lifeguard stand in the middle, where the water become shallow enough for me to stand on the pool floor with my head above water.

Before class last week, I was venting frustration to my instructor because I wasn’t loosing weight like I wanted to. She encouraged me to ask my doctor for every kind of test available when I go for my physical at the end of April, and also to continue to press on with swimming because I had made so much progress. This is the 3rd class I have taken – each class is a 1-hour session, 8 sessions, at 8:00 Saturday morning. So I have had 19 sessions and 5 more to go after this week’s off day for the Easter holiday. She’s right about the progress I’ve made. I think that by the end of this class I will be able to swim anywhere in the pool on my own, and the pool in my apartment complex ought to be open by then, opening up even more opportunities for a water workout.

I’ve also seen classmates overcome their fear of water. I used to be able to swim when I was younger, but it had been more than 20 years since I had swam, so I figured I needed these classes (I was VERY right). But I didn’t have a fear of the water, just needed to re-learn how to swim. In each of my classes there has been another person there that had some level of water fear. The fear is always conquered, even with my current classmate that’s only been working for 3 weeks.

As you would imagine, swimming comes strongly recommended from me. If you have never swam, even if you are terrified of water, I strongly urge you to sign up for some classes and learn. If you know how to swim, do so as often as you can. If you have small children or grandchildren, do whatever is necessary to get them to learn to swim as early in life as possible. They’ll learn the habit early and it will help keep them fit.

Swimming is the best workout you can get and is extremely FUN. Give it a try. You’ll be glad you did.