As recommended by my doctor, I have decided to try swimming to help my back troubles.
(He's convinced I need to strengthen my core muscles.)
A back that has had limited flexibility since 1986.
A back that goes "out" more often than.......well, certainly more than I do.
A back that screams in pain if a physiotherapist does minimal, gentle massage on it.
Well, he called it gentle.
I cried. A lot.
I bought the swimsuit, I bought a pass to the pool, good for thirty visits.
Ever tried to stuff many pounds worth of sagging fat into a tiny piece of Lycra?
(I couldn't find anything in a neck-to-knee style.)
Went "swimming" the very next day.
As a swimmer, I'm an excellent floater.
And I can lie on my towel soaking up some sun really well too.
I floated and got water in my ears that took hours to drain out again.
I struggled my way up and down the pool, and I do mean struggled, then got out for a rest.
It's not that I don't know how to swim, I do, although I'm not a good swimmer.
I have poor technique, never having mastered the "flutter" kick.
But I can swim.
What I'd forgotten though, was because of the bursitis and tendon trouble, the shoulders don't want to rotate the way they should for the overarm crawl stroke.
This is bad news.
I was reduced to dog paddling with an occasional burst of breaststroke and much floating.
But I can see how these totally different movements, (different from sitting on the couch that is), could eventually, possibly, help my back.
So I resolved to keep trying.
After all, I'd paid good money for that pool pass, I wasn't about to waste it.
(If I'd bought a single one day entry, I could see myself giving up.)
I decided to go to the pool every Friday, because that's my day off, also on Saturdays and Sundays.
Well, blow me down with a feather!, the pool was closed for the next Friday and Saturday, so I didn't get to go again until last Sunday.
I've been doing my shoulder exercises, so tried the overarm crawl style this time and managed to swim a few metres before going back to the dog paddling and floating.
Again, I struggled up and down the pool twice, got out and rested and then repeated the process.
I had to leave earlier than I would have liked, because I'd forgotten to pack my sunscreen, but I was rather pleased with my progress.
My second "swim" in close to thirty years and already I'd managed to get my shoulder moving close enough to an overarm movement.
Very slowly, but I did it.
For a short time. Probably only 3-4 metres, but it's a start.
On my way out, I checked the notice board and discovered that the pool is closed again all of next week and the week after.
For pre-booked "events".
Possibly school swimming carnivals or something similar.
So weekends it is.
I did notice that the overarm swimming stretched the side and lower back muscles a bit and on the way home the pain over my right hip got quite bad. By the time I got off the bus I wanted to crawl on my hands and knees because my hip wouldn't take the weight of my leg walking.
But in spite of that and in spite of the pool closures, I shall keep going.
I've remembered how much I enjoy being in the water.
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