Recently my inner child was with me in the swimming pool. She wasn't quite sure what to think of the event, other than swimming has been a life long hobby.
I recently re-joined the YMCA, the Santa Monica branch this time, because it has multiple pools and therefore, almost limitless opportunities to develop my strength, flexibility, and endurance in the water. While there are endless other non-water activities at the "Y", I took the recommendation of my lymphedema doctor to return to swimming.
Since I know a good exercise routine should include a total body warm-up period, exercises for the upper body and lower body, stretches, and a cool down period, my inner child was ready for the structured playtime in the water.
"But wait!" I heard a voice in my head call out.
"My feet hurt! I know we are wearing water shoes and cotton socks to reduce the pressure on my feet when we walk in the water, but remember, they are swollen, swollen from the chemotherapy...I know the new chemo is working, but my feet really hurt!"
After a pause, the voice deep inside my heart softly consoled herself by saying, "I'll try not to focus on the pain, I love the water so much."
So we walked in the shallow end of the pool to warm-up. For 15 minutes I was humming songs to the beat of my marching legs and my arms were swinging to the rhythm of my steps. Every so often I checked my pulse to monitor my cardiovascular warm-up progress.
Next we were ready for the water toys. I put the yellow, buoyant noodle between my thighs. Now my feet didn't touch the pool floor. Then I got the two yellow thingees for my hands--something equivalent to water dumb bells or weights. We were doing arm and shoulder exercises. This was fun.
Another fifteen minutes quickly passed.
Next, I decided to swim some laps: freestyle, backstroke and sidestroke.
My inner child called, "This is Fun! I love this!
"Do you remember when we were in water ballet?"