May 25, 2018

Healthy Mama || Learning To Swim At 34

I loved going swimming as a child and I remember going swimming with my Mum who tried teaching me, holding my tummy up so I could learn and showing me how to move my arms and legs while we held onto the side. I tried but I was just hopeless at it! We had 'lessons' at school too and I even managed to flap my way through a sponsored swimathon with Brownies, but I've never actually been able to swim.

For some reason, swimming has always been one of those things I could just never do, it was like an extreme version of rubbing your tummy and patting your head and I could never work out how to get my arms and legs to do what I wanted them to at the same time. At school, the kids that could swim already went in the deep end, with those that couldn't in the shallow end. This meant that for my ten years of schools with pools, I never actually learnt to swim, I just walked across the pool! I'm sure things have changed now, but it was just easier to walk and they never persuaded us to really try and swim. I could dive for bricks and woosh under the water kicking from the side, but that was the height of my talent in the pool

I've always had hang ups on my weight and body shape, so being paraded through school past the kids in the maths huts wrapped in a towel was one of my least favourite things from school, so as often as possible I said it was that 'time of the month' to get a free pass and walk to the pool side fully dressed. Swimming lessons at school were much more about the torment of that dreaded walk than actually learning to swim, so I never got anywhere. 

When we went to local pools and holidays, I just wanted to have fun, go down the slides and play with the inflatables, I tried swimming lots of times and although I could some how flap my way across the pool, it was more of a desperate confused doggy paddle than anything productive and as much as people tried to tell me how to do it, it just didn't make sense!

Just two weeks ago I started swimming at a local gym and on my first visit, after watching a few swimming videos I managed to swim a proper length of breast stroke and I was so happy! It wasn't a desperate survival flap across the pool, it was real swimming and I'd actually managed a length. If you're a swimmer this probably sounds ridiculous, but having not even attempted swimming properly since childhood, this was a huge step for me!

Fast forward to today and after just a few swims since that first length, today I swam twenty whole lengths of the pool (it's not a huge pool but still), with a few minutes break in the middle. I even felt I could have carried on, but with my back being weak still and a gym visit yesterday, I thought I'd stick to 20. I think part of the reason it worked for me this time round is that the pool is one continuous depth. The thought of having to stop half way and not being able to put my feet down has really put me off in the past, but I know this time I can stop if I need to at any point without panicking.

I'm so so proud of myself and I can't believe it's taken 34 years for it to 'click' and my arms and legs to do what I actually want them to do. I can't wait to go back to the pool to do it again!

Are you a good swimmer?

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