Swimming – (hopefully) from Fatness to Fitness

After the hell that was 2013 and all the physical rehabilitation I had I’m very aware that I’ve got to maintain and improve my current level of fitness.

During the summer and into the autumn I would go on daily, long, fast-paced walks. Each week I would see an improvement in my time and my fitness. I’d noticed a reduction in the level of pain I was in and I felt good.

Autumn swung into winter and it became too parky for me and I stopped. A little bit of winter weight crept up and I started to miss my happy endorphins. So on the advice of my therapist I started swimming again.

As a child I was a brilliant competitive swimmer. I swam for several teams. I trained with people who went on to be Olympians and I was among the very best in the county. I usually swam backstroke or front crawl. I have strong, strong legs which made these the perfect strokes for me.

I stopped swimming when I hit puberty; I was very conscious of all my lady lumps and bumps and couldn’t face it anymore. In hindsight that was a massive shame because, you know, I could’ve been a contender.

So about a month or so ago I slipped into my swimming costume and literally took the plunge. I’d not swum properly for years but I found myself in a pool where I used to do some competitive swimming, Withington Baths. It’s an old Victorian pool, but the water is warm and it’s cheap and close by. I have clear and fond memories of swimming there and collecting my hard-swum for medals afterwards. Glory days.

The first time I swam, knowing how unfit I was I mentally set a target of 10 lengths. I’d bashed those out in no time so decided to continue, by the end of the session I’d done 25 lengths, but I was seriously sore and limping the next day. Undeterred I returned the following week and did another 25 lengths and I’ve been back every week since to do another 25 lengths each time. Each session I feel stronger and fitter and my time improves.

Over Christmas I went to Cheadle Baths a few times, another one of my competitive childhood haunts. Theirs is an Olympic size pool and a nice facility. I like that an area is roped off for those who want to swim lengths so it’s easier to swim without dodging people. There I swam 18 lengths, just short of a kilometre. I was pretty chuffed with that.

It’s too early to see how swimming weekly and now twice weekly is changing me. I feel stronger in my arms and shoulders. The bingo wings are fractionally less and there is more definition in my legs, the squishy middle bit could do with buggering off but it will do in time. But I feel better. I feel stronger and happier. It gives me a routine and a goal and I like it.

Next week I think I’ll up it to 30 lengths! Go me!

Withington baths

Withington Baths @lovewithybaths

7 responses to “Swimming – (hopefully) from Fatness to Fitness

  1. So that’s why you were swimming properly when we were all lazing in the hot tub on our spa day! I really wish I was a better swimmer, I’m not keen on the water and, as a result, I’m not a strong swimmer at all.

    • Ha! Yes exactly that, plus I couldn’t resist that gloriously empty pool! If you can swim a bit, even weakly then that’s a handy skill to have and might save your life one day. I’m a big fan, but I bet you guessed that already 🙂

  2. That’s awesome 😀 I’ve been doing the same with a little 3km running circuit near where I live- it’s nice to see the changes each week 🙂 Keep going with the #30daysofgoodstuff! x

    • Wow! 3k is a decent distance whilst at the same time being quite manageable. Alas due to my spine my running days are behind me, but I envy those, like you who can! Loving the #30daysofgoodstuff too 🙂

  3. motherofmadcatsandbabies

    Well done, sounds like you have found swimming is helping. It is a great way to get in shape, because it does really work a lot of your body and you can pace yourself. You may have motivated me to try more than one session a week. Thanks for linking up with Get Fit Mummy Too!!

  4. Emma T (@ETusty)

    I was never a particularly strong swimming, but like doing lengths. I’ve got back into it going with someone from work at lunchtimes. We’re currently going in the outdoor pool which is bliss. But blimey, a 50m pool is a shock to my system having never swum in one before.

    I used to be able to do 30 lengths no problem when I was fit, now I’m 4 stone overweight and really out of condition. I do like that it’s easy to build up quite quickly. I can now do 16 lengths in 30 mins, and want to try and get more in the time. I struggle with crawl because my breathing is rubbish, and backstroke kills me – I used to think it was easy, but 50m just goes on forever, so it’s breaststroke for me. Thankfully my knee holds out.

    I’m hoping this gives my fitness a boost going once or twice a week, then walking some lunch times and some HIIT exercises in the mornings. It’s just a slow process.

Hey! Hey! What've you got to say? I love your comments.....