Swimming

Living and loving the life aquatic

(Rudy Owens, in one of his favorite environments, doing one his favorite things–lap swimming)

I am a swimmer. I have swum my whole life, but it was not until I had some bad running injuries, when I became a serious endurance athlete, that I found my rhythm and place in the pool.

Swimming is one of the best forms of exercise for people of all ages. It has virtually no harmful impact on any part of the body, except perhaps the shoulders. Otherwise it is low-impact. It boosts lung capacity and one’s capacities in every sport. It is also one of the finest ways to meditate and clean one’s mind.

As I become a more proficient swimmer, I love that my lap swimming can now be seen as surf training, helping me become a stronger surfer. Surfing requires conditioning that only swimming can provide. It is a perfect match for this stage in my life.

I love seeing people in their 80s swim. It gives me hope I have decades left to enjoy staying healthy and active.

Swimming, great for the mind and body

I am a swimmer. Because of a persistent shoulder injury, called scapular displacement, I am unable to swim as much as I used to. But I go at least once a week. It is one of the best activities for one’s body. It allows the mind to filter out one’s problems and focus. It promotes health and fitness. It loosens tight lower back muscles. As one former Olympics swimmer and gold medalist Janet Evans notes: “Swimming is the ultimate all-in-one fitness package, working most muscles in the body in a variety of ways with every stroke. When strokes are performed correctly, the muscles lengthen and increase in flexibility. The significant repetition of strokes improves muscle endurance, and because water creates more resistance against the body than air does in land exercise, the muscles are strengthened and toned. Swimming also significantly enhances core strength, which is important to overall health and stability in everyday life. The hip, back, and abdominal muscles are crucial to moving through the water effectively and efficiently. Swimming builds these core muscles better than any abs video or gadget advertised on television. Finally, a properly structured swim workout provides incredible improvements to the cardiovascular system. The nature of breathing when swimming-with breath being somewhat limited in volume and frequency-promotes greater lung capacity and a consistent intake of oxygen. Both aerobic and anaerobic gains can be made in the same workout.”

These are shots I took at an open water swim event at Lake Meridian, in Kent, Washington, in 2012. Some very fit, hyper-competitive athletes were in this group. Most mere mortals can benefit from going to a local pools once or more a week. If you have not taken up swimming, try it out. Go slow. Give it time. It took me about 25 times before I finally switched from hating doing laps to loving my trips to the pool. Like all good things, it takes time.