Summer Swimming

by Sherry Steinman

Do you enjoy swimming? When was the last time you participated? I mean really swam – not walking in water. The water-walking women who wear makeup and perfect hair at the Heath Water Park (a.k.a. Heath Pool) and walk in the water during the ‘adult swim’ breaks are not swimming! They are attending a swimming pool and walking. While water-walking is good exercise, it’s just not as good as swimming.

What I mean by swimming is the ‘dive-in and get your hair wet, all-over no-impact body workout’ that is to be fully enjoyed during the warm days of summer at an outdoor pool. Licking County is blessed to have several nice pools, and even a lake! People of all ages, it’s time to take part in the enjoyment.

Dad, Miss Biddle, and the Butterfly

Many senior citizens enjoy the great workout that swimming offers. When my Dad was 71 years old he came to visit us from Chicago one summer and was delighted to learn about Lake Hudson in Granville. While not as grand as Lake Michigan, Lake Hudson is a very nice natural outdoor recreational area with a body of water.  Dad dove right in and got his hair wet.  He still knew how to swim – and still had hair!  I warmly remember him exiting the water at Lake Hudson, dripping wet and smiling.  He shook himself off like a golden retriever – drops of water flying everywhere.

Most people who enjoy swimming remember how they first learned the sport. I recall learning mostly on my own and was not very good at it until my freshman year at Riverside-Brookfield High School, outside Chicago. My P.E. instructor, Miss Biddle, showed us several strokes beyond the usual crawl.  Turned out that I could do the sidestroke very well!  She even said I looked graceful – and that was hard to do since we had those awful shapeless old cloth Speedos to wear and I was none too slim at the time.  I enjoyed picking up the new strokes, along with some confidence.  But, as for the butterfly stroke, I was definitely a moth!

Mobilize and Energize

Swimming is especially good exercise for people who have certain mobility challenges. Water is kind to the skeleton, and the natural buoyancy offers respite from the stress of gravity.  Watch individuals who have arthritis when they get into the water.  Initially tentative, they are soon gliding along like children, smiling and splashing.  For them, water walking is a great start to enjoying freer movement and broader range of motion than otherwise possible.

So, whether or not you care to join the water-walking women at the Heath Water Park, or the splashing kids at the YMCA outdoor pool, or take a dip in Lake Hudson, do get out and get swimming this summer! If I’m there, I’ll be the one with the wet, flat hair, still trying to learn the butterfly.  I’ll definitely NOT be wearing a Speedo!

Watch individuals who have arthritis when they get into the water.  Initially tentative, they are soon gliding along like children, smiling and splashing.

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