When I got back from my trip to Europe, I was a lot of things: tired, happy to be home, tired, introspective, grateful…but I was also reinvigorated. All of those things I kept saying I would do for years before I went on the trip I finally started to do. One of those things was to sign up for a water aerobics class. I’d seen it in the city catalog over and over but I was always to scared to sign up. I gave myself excuse after excuse to talk myself out of it. But this year, I just went for it. Signed up, paid, attempted (unsuccessfully) to find a one piece bathing suit.
Working out has always been a great point of contention for my mind. I can’t go running like other people. Even walking is dangerous because if I fall I may not be able to get up. I’ve done yoga on and off but trying to do it on my own was just too hard and I would get lazy and end up not doing it. Before I left for my trip I was feeling really down about the state of my body. I weighed the most I ever had in my life and though I was by all accounts still thin, I noticed how much harder it was getting for me to lift myself up because my arms were still as weak as ever. I knew in my head that if I didn’t do anything about it, I might permanently be stuck on the couch. I just didn’t know where to begin with doing something about it.
My MD doctors always told me to swim because it was low impact and as a kid, I loved nothing more. I’m extremely grateful to my parents for putting me in swimming lessons too when I would go out to Dallas to visit my grandma every summer. So exercising in water (pool water that is, don’t get me started about the ocean) seemed like a match made in heaven.
And so far, it has been. Save for pulling a muscle in my back this week and having to miss a class and spend some serious bonding time with my couch, it’s been just what I needed. I think a big reason why I’ve loved the water is because it’s a place where I can do pretty much what everyone else can. My muscles aren’t limited. I can go under the water just like everyone else. I remember swimming in my other grandma’s pool when I was younger, I could actually carry my cousin in the water, something I never would have been able to do outside of the water. I know I shouldn’t strive to feel like everyone else because it’s ok not to be, but that feeling of inclusion being in water gives me is such a great feeling. And I really am able to do almost all of the moves everyone else is. A lot of the other people in the class have physical limitations too so I don’t feel alone. The pool is even set up for people with limitations so there’s nice small steps with a railing on both sides to get in and out of the pool.
It’s a great workout too. The first couple of times I was really sore after but then I gradually got used to it (again, save for the back thing). I always leave feeling great about myself and I started to feel so much better about my body again. I actually feel stronger too. We don’t just work out our legs, we work out our arms and everything too so it’s totally a full body workout. Not only has it made me feel better physically but I’ve been so much better mentally too. I’m more calm and just overall more happy. I’m not lingering on all of the things I saw as not going right in my life like I was before. When I go and get a juice or pitaya bowl now, I no longer feel like the only person in the room who doesn’t work out. I feel more confident. The benefits have been ten fold. It’s tough going 3 times a week when you work 2 jobs, there’s no denying that. But the benefits far outweigh the downsides.
So here’s to not putting off those things you want to do, especially if it involves taking care of your body. Take it from someone who has always been very anti-workout and very scared about just about everything in life…it’s well worth taking the shot.