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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Exercise is Fun!!!

My husband and I have joined a gym.  He has spent a year in and out of the hospital and I have spent the year nervously eating.  We both are OUT OF SHAPE- in every sense of the word.  We both have bad knees and arms, have arthritis, he also has a problem since his hip surgery (bone started growing back over the new hip causing extreme pain), both are very over weight, and both of us have no strength.  We elected to do swimming as our exercise as it seemed the less stressful on our out of shape painful bodies.

We have been at this for 3 weeks now.  There have been a few obstacles along the way.  My biggest hurdle was to find a swim suit.  Being heavy does not make it easy to find a swim suit.  I live way out in the country and there are not many stores near to choose from especially when trying to find a larger sized swim suit out of season.  I decided to go online.  That was extremely frustrating.  I get really irritated at the kinds of suits available for larger women.  The designers think that we want to hide our bodies (which we wish we could but it is pretty hard to hide a body in a swim suit) so they put a skirt on these skimpy looking things.  Do you know what that looks like?  Like a whale in a tu-tu.  Not a pretty site.  I finally decided on a 2 piece.  I waited patiently to get this suit only to be so discouraged when it came.  I think what they did was design a suit for a woman of size 2 then just kept enlarging it to fit us full figured gals.  Disgusting!  I did not know what to do.  I finally went to the only discount store we have in our town and bought a pair of biker pants (without padding) and used them as the bottoms for the swim top.  This seemed to work okay.

So we headed out to the gym.  I am a very modest person.  I always have been - even when I was normal sized.  I walked into the ladies locker room only to find naked ladies everywhere.  I carefully found a locker in a back corner and got ready for the pool.  Luckily I already had my suit on so it was an easy preparation. 

Swimming was great.  Both my husband and I began with some exercises in the pool then I started to swim.  I quickly realized that I needed to get some earplugs as I have major problems with my ears.  So the first day I just stuck to the exercises.  The second day I used the earplugs and swam backstroke and breaststroke.  I found that I do not have the breathing down for freestyle at this time.  So I have worked up to 30 laps only stopping once or twice.  Along with that, I do a variety of leg, arm, and body exercises.  Other than a couple of days missed due to illness (over the weekend also), we go 5 days a week.  We chose to go early in the morning so to encourage ourselves to get up and go, we have volunteered to drive one of our grandchildren in to a morning church class that he attends.  We are up by 5:45 and out the door by 10 after 6 AM!!!   We swim for about an hour each day.

My next huge hurdle was back in the locker room.  Between being very modest and very self conscience, I was faced with having to change in front of these other ladies.  I don't even undress in front of myself!  So I went through the door to the locker room only to find a lady drying herself off after her shower.  She kind of blocked the path.  I saw to her right the sauna so I decided to duck into there until I felt the coast was clear for me to get changed.  I opened the sauna door and started in but saw it was full of naked ladies lying around and sitting in every available spot.  I quickly shut the door and opted for plan #2. 

I gathered my bag, my towel, and change of clothes and headed for the shower.  Thank goodness for shower curtains!  Now most ladies go to their lockers, undress, head to the shower, shower, dry off, then head back to the locker area to dress.  NOT ME! I entered the shower in my swim suit and came out mostly dressed.  I actually had to finish dressing in the bathroom because the floor in the shower was too wet for me to put on my sweats.  I did get some strange looks as I exited the shower with clothes ON!  I did this for a week and then finally realized that there was a special locker area for swimmers.  Most of the ladies that early in the morning do not use that locker because it doesn't have all of the nice features found in the main locker area and they were not swimming either.  It was fine for me. 

So my husband and I are watching our food intake carefully and hitting the veggies and fruits hard.  We exercise at the pool 5 days a week for an hour each day.  I have not noticed any weight loss yet but I do see an improvement in my strength.  I had the flu for a few days and was down but went back today for my first time back.  I was impressed that I could do my 30 laps easily and in a much faster time.  I also did 30 minutes of water exercises.  I have never liked exercising but I am actually thinking that this exercise is fun!

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