I never was into sports or exercise as a kid. Undiagnosed EDS meant I was always exhausted and my joints and limbs hurt. Undiagnosed autism meant team sports were baffling at best. But I always loved swimming. We’d spend the summers in my aunt’s lakeside resort in Turkey, and I’d practically live in the water. A real waterbaby. I’d still get tired quickly, especially seeing as I was too skinny to float properly. But it was so relaxing, especially underwater where the sounds were all muffled. I’d hold my breath for as long as I could and pretend to be a mermaid.
We joined the local pool last summer. The kids, who’d struggled through years of swimming lessons without success, taught themselves to swim within a few weeks. And I just spend the time splashing around with them, nothing too strenuous.
It’s a gentle walk there and a gentle walk back. We go around once a week, unless we are sick, and find the quietest times of day to go. We stay for around an hour, by which time I’m feeling quite cold if I’m bring my honest. I’m going to invest in a wetsuit like my daughter has. There’s a cafe on the premises and we have a snack and a hot drink before heading home. And by the time we are home I’m usually quite tired and need to rest.
But it’s worth it. The kids love it, we get some exercise and have some fun and it’s a nice routine. We may try and increase it to twice a week if we can build up enough stamina.
So there you have it. My one attempt at structure and exercise and building up strength. Having the membership is key. Not only does it mean we can go at quiet times when it’s not open to the general public (we often have the place to ourselves) but because we have to pay for the whole year, it provides an incentive not to “waste” the membership and skip a week. Though if we don’t feel well enough to go I try not to feel too guilty.
Having a chronic illness is a constant balancing act between pushing yourself to do things you enjoy, and not overdoing it. I think we’re managing about right with this pool membership.