Focus on fitness: The long walk to the pool |

Focus on fitness: The long walk to the pool

My son came to me the other day and said, “Mom, you need to pick a sport or exercise that you can commit to and get yourself back in shape. Maybe you should set a goal to compete in a half marathon.”

I have every excuse in the world not to. I had surgery on my foot, and I hurt both knees, so I can’t run. Plus running involves lots of bouncing, and I don’t like bouncing. I want to get back into shape, but I want a good aerobic sport that is easy on the joints. Maybe I should get back into swimming.

I coach the Steamboat Springs Swim Team, so swimming is the obvious choice. I also coach Masters Classes, but the thought of actually getting in the pool and swimming with the group rather frightens me. I am not the swimmer I used to be. I have swum only three times in the past year — what would I look like?

One of my swimmers made a bet with me: If she made a state cut in her race, I would have to get in the pool and swim with the team. Well, I lost the bet. What choice did I have? I had to get back in that one-piece black swimsuit — the one that makes me look 5 pounds thinner than the flowered one. How was I going to get from the locker room to the pool without anyone seeing me? I realized I could wrap myself in my big swim parka and shed it at the last moment.

Little did I know that my swim team kids did not care about my unfounded insecurities. They were just happy to have me in the pool. I may have been a little slower, but I really enjoyed being in the water with the team, and I did feel better after my swim workout. I went home that night and thought: What am I so afraid of?

To all of you out there who are afraid to make that first step onto the pool deck, whether you are new to swimming or a former swimmer like me, I challenge you to join me in me pursuit of a fitter and healthier you. Step one: I am going to make a commitment to swim for a minimum of 30 minutes two times a week for the next month. Join me at the pool in your black, brightly colored or flowery suits. It is never too late to learn to swim or to get back in the pool. Shed that big parka, proudly walk onto the pool deck and jump in. I’ll see you there!

Patti Worsley is head coach of Steamboat Springs Swim Team at Old Town Hot Springs.

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