A New Behavior: Exercising Without Being Obsessive

A New Behavior: Exercising Without Being Obsessive

Source: © 10 Stewart Pl Condo Association

I’m fortunate enough to have an indoor pool in my building. It’s a small pool – 13 strokes from one end to the other — but it’s a pool nonetheless. It was closed during COVID-19, then open on a limited basis which was too much of a pain to navigate. I was also coming off a bad asthma flare which had lasted for three months, so it was too soon anyway.

Now the pool is open without any restrictions and I’m feeling much better, so about two weeks ago I started stealing away at about 5 AM for a 20-30-minute swim. At that hour I have the pool to myself and as I glide through the water, I shed my worries and fears, leaving them in my wake. The pool is housed on the 11th floor of my apartment building and there is an enormous picture window that lets the morning sunlight stream through. The light hits the water’s surface and dances, disrupted only by my movement.

© Microgen | Shutterstock

Source: © Microgen | Shutterstock

What is different from all the other times I’ve started an exercise routine is I swim until I’ve had enough which turns out to be a consistent time of between 20 to 30 minutes. If I keep my goggles tight enough around my head so that no water seeps in, then by the 20-minute mark, they start to press uncomfortably on the skin around my eyes. It used to be if I skipped a day, I felt horribly guilty and ashamed. Now, I trust myself to get back on track the next day.

I don’t expect swimming to have any great impact on the weight loss I’m trying to achieve right now (see my post Eating Disorders are a Danger Zone ). I’m not swimming fast enough or for a long enough period of time. I’ve recently been in a lot of overall pain for which I don’t know the cause and I’m hoping that getting and keeping moving will help. And that the concerted emphasis on breathing will improve my lung power. I do eventually want to get back to yoga, but can’t right now because my wrist hasn’t fully healed.

I’m hoping that swimming will help my emotional well-being as much as my physical well-being. I used to call the pool my “think tank,” one place where I got my best ideas. Now I want it to be a place where I can shed anything that is lingering from the day before, so my mind is clear and I can focus on the day ahead.

Gently gliding through the water in a pool I have to myself, the rising sun streaming through a giant picture window. What more could one want at that moment?

Thanks for reading


 © Andrea Rosenhaft

Source: © Andrea Rosenhaft

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