My Swim Gym – Part 2

July 23, 2017 at 9:29 pm Leave a comment

I belong to a gym, but I can’t face working with the machines- too boring, too repetitive, too mechanical, and too focused on only one part of the body.

Instead, I have spent the past 9 months working on a pool-based regime of overall health, strength and suppleness. This is a gym workout for the pool, which combines swimming and exercise, and can work most parts of the body.

My full regime in the pool area lasts about an hour, starting with a sauna of 10-12 minutes, followed by a mixture of a swim and exercises for 30 minutes. When I get out of the pool, I do 5 minutes of poolside exercises and finish with a 10 minute steam room stint. It’s not necessary to do the sauna and steam parts, although I find both of them valuable for muscle relaxation and skin cleansing. I also use these sessions to massage my neck and upper arms, and to flex and contract my legs. The heat is beneficial for tenderising the flesh.

In the pool I swim for a number of lengths, and then start to do a series of exercises, which I begin by standing in a shallow area (4-5 feet depth). Here I do 20 slow neck rolls in each direction, followed by holding my arms behind my back to hold onto the pool edge while pushing out my chest, which expands it and strengthens the arms and opens the shoulders. After this I stretch my arms behind my back while holding my hands together and walk through the pool, releasing my arms and re-engaging them every 5-10 counts. Next I bend my left leg behind me and grab my ankle, at the same time pulling the heel to my bum. I then bend my body forward to stretch the thigh which forces me to hop through the water, afterwards repeating this action with the right leg. After this, I grab one ankle, and dropping into the water, grab the other ankle and float while revolving my ankles in both directions. I repeat this again, but instead of turning the ankles, I expand my chest and legs by pulling them away from each other. Finally I sink in the water, grab my toes and stretch my legs and upper body as straight as they can go. This always results in a few spinal vertebrae releases. This is so much more effective on water than on land. Then, taking a position in the corner of the pool, I raise one of my legs to the side of my body and raise it as high as possible. I can raise my feet high enough to get the toes over the pool edge and so raise my foot to rest on the pool edge with the other leg dangling in the water. Then I stretch my upper body along the side of the pool to support myself. By turning my body against the leg that is supporting me, I can do a very good side stretch, which also stretches the arm supporting my upper body. I do this on both legs, in different corners of the pool.

If there is enough space in the pool I twirl in the water, spinning my body around and around horizontally so that my waist turns with the spin and my arms extend and help to sweep me around. I do this in both directions for about 20 spins. I then move to the edge of the pool and lift my body by putting my elbows and arms on the tiles and raise myself up. I keep myself elevated for a while. Then I let my body sink down until I am still held by the elbows and arms, but the weight is felt higher up in my shoulders. Lastly I go to the pool steps, hold on the the bars used to leave the pool, and extend my arms fully, placing my feet on the third step from the bottom, thereby stretching my hamstrings, bum and arms. Before leaving the pool, I take a slow swim, turning gently in the water, trying to feel what a dolphin must feel like playing in the water, or an embryo floating in amniotic fluid. We began life in water, and to return to it in this way brings back a peaceful sensation that can remind us of what it might have felt like in the womb.

At poolside I do a forward bend, a squat, a wide leg squat, a back bend and a Taoist exercise which I can’t describe.

When I was young I was afraid of the water, and I’m so glad I enjoy it now.

 

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Entry filed under: Longevity. Tags: , , , .

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