I used to hate the pool. Really hate it. No matter what kind of pool. The water needed to be at least 78 for me to even think about going in, and then I wouldn’t put my head under.
I had taken lessons as a child so knew how to swim well, even if I was never a strong swimmer. We even had a pool growing up, which I liked well enough when I was 10, but somewhere along the line, it just didn’t appeal to me anymore.
I hated being cold and wet, and having to anticipate shaving my legs and everything else. I didn’t like the chlorine smell, the dry skin, having to dry my hair. It just seemed like too much work.
So if I didn’t like it for recreational purposes, there was no way I would like it for exercise.
And when I exercise, I like to sweat.
So the pool & I never had a close relationship.
Fast forward a few years, when I moved to France and discovered there is a certain pool culture in this country :
- Many of the towns are equipped with fantastic pools, state of the art facilities, even diving tanks.
- In many schools, learning to swim is part of the curriculum. For 3 or 4 years my kids would go to the pool with school for lessons.
- My husband loves the water. He has done scuba diving for years, and weekly, goes to the pool to train. He would always encourage me to go with him, that in parallel to scuba was an aqua gym class. Try it he told me.
But all I could think of was the smell of chlorine and mandatory leg shaving.
Then one year, I over trained with my running and had to limit my mileage so I looked for a new activity. I decided to try aqua gym and signed up for a Friday night class.
Firstly, it was in the small, kid’s pool, so the pool is heated. And it was fun. The teacher is a young guy who changes things up every week, jokes with the women, the music was hip, the women fun. We jump, kick, punch, do ab work, and go non stop for 45 minutes.
Secondly, when I was done, my body felt differently. I could tell I had a really great work out but without the hard impact. When I got out of the pool my body felt tired, a good tired. I immediately loved that Friday night aqua gym class.
After about a year or so, I decided to go to the pool to swim. Wow. Big step. It is not as warm as the kiddie pool, and swimming laps ? can anything else be so boring I thought ? Well, I was in for a big surprise.
Fast forward to today…
I have added swimming laps (in addition to aqua gym on Friday) as a regular part of my exercise routine.
- It is a full body workout. Legs, arms, back, core… everything gets worked
- It is gentle on my joints, periodic shin splints or achiles / heel pain
- I can see progress in how far / long I can swim
… and I had laser hair removal from my legs many years back, so the leg shaving is no longer an issue. And all those other issues I had ? The health benefits largely outweigh them.
So my relationship with the pool is going to continue for a while.
Do you have a pool where you live ? Do you like it ?