Focus on Fitness: Give a fitness activity a try; you may love it |

Focus on Fitness: Give a fitness activity a try; you may love it

Valerie Powell/For Steamboat Today

Recently, a few people asked me about Masters Swim, a class we offer four days per week. The inquisitive group told me they really wanted to work on their swimming technique and improve endurance. However, they were nervous to try it because they were afraid they wouldn't be good enough and that they would be left behind if they couldn't keep up. I understood exactly where they were coming from, because I had the same worries before I started Masters Swim.

Here's what I did before I joined my first class:

• I talked to the instructor. I let her know my current abilities and what I hoped to get out of the class. She then placed me with a group of people with similar abilities and goals. She also gave me specific instruction pertaining to my goals.

• I introduced myself to my new group. All I did was learn their names, but immediately, I felt as if I was swimming with a team instead of with a group of strangers.

• I skipped sets until I was strong enough to complete the whole workout. When my group moved on to each new set, I moved with them, even if I hadn't finished the previous set. That way, I could stay with the group instead of falling so far behind I felt as though I was swimming by myself.

• I modified the workout. If there was a stroke I didn't know yet or a drill I couldn't do, I asked the instructor what I could do as a substitute.

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After some persistence and commitment to the class, my swimming has noticeably improved. Soon, I didn't have to skip sets, and my modifications became less and less. I was glad I turned my fear into a weekly habit.

I told all this to the group. At the end I said, "No matter what, you will have an awesome workout and will have accomplished something. Just give it a try."

And so they did. After the class, they happily reported back to me, saying it wasn't nearly as hard as they thought, and they were so glad they had tried it out. They also told me they would be back to swim again.

I know you have that one thing you've always wanted to try, but haven't mustered the courage to give it a shot. So this week, check out that new running group, ballet class, spin class, yoga class or Pilates group you've always wanted to do. You might just love it so much it will become an activity you enjoy for the rest of your life.

Valerie Powell is swim lesson coordinator at Old Town Hot Springs and competition services administrator at Steamboat Ski and Resort Corporation.