Sunday, November 20, 2011

I finally found a good place with a pool to exercise at.

Back when we lived on the other side of the city, I belonged to an amazing wellness center with a huge pool area. And it was literally five minutes from our apartment, so I went almost every single day, sometimes twice a day. With the back problems and mobility limitations I have, the only way I can manage a good solid workout is in the water. On land I can walk around, but have to sit frequently when the pain gets too bad. In chest to shoulder deep water, I have no pain whatsoever and can go as long as I want. My doctor wants to see me doing 30 minutes of sustained vigorous activity at least five times a week, preferrably daily. I can't walk briskly for a half-hour without having to stop and rest at least a few times. So, my options are limited. When we moved to this area, I didn't know of any indoor pools that I could use. I had been exercising with an exercise ball, but it was mostly upper body work with light hand weights. Imagine a kind of "sit and be fit" exercise routine, but on a big ball instead of in a chair, and a bit more strenuous than what I've seen for chair workouts. But, it got to the point where the exercise ball was hurting my back too much and I needed to find another pool.

I thought I had found one at a local community health and fitness center, but the facility just sucked and I only was able to make myself go a handful of times before I gave up. First of all,the pool was only 4 feet deep at the center. I'm 5'11". To be in the correct chest to shoulder depth, I need more than 4 feet of water. You wouldn't think that a half a foot of water would make that much difference, right? But it did! The only way I could make that pool work was to exercise in the very center, and crouch down at that. And there was only one lane open for people to do anything but lap swimming, so unless I got there at the crack of dawn and did my workout before anybody else showed up, I was S.O.L. And no air conditioning in the pool area. There were these big vent windows and exhaust fans. But when you have a heated pool in a big concerete and steel room on the Texas Gulf Coast, and no a/c, you get a muggy, stuffy mess. It was just unpleasant. And then there were the locker rooms. Tiny, with only one big open changing area, the only benches were narrow and low. Also, to get to and from the pool, you had to walk through the middle of the exercise area. Which was always overly air conditioned. So, I'd have to walk from a warm pool in a stifling hot room, through a freezing room, just to get into the locker room and deal with the lack of creature comforts in there. Also, the staff and administration were all rude or indifferent. I can't remember a single person smiling at me on any of the occasions I managed to suck it up long enough to exercise there.

But, I found a new place, reccomended by a lady at the crochet and knitting group I go to sometimes. A fitness center about ten minutes from my house, with a MUCH better layout and MUCH nicer pool. We went and joined yesterday. It was significantly cheaper than the sucky place too. There are actual changing rooms in the locker room, a women only sauna, women only fitness area, and a very large pool that goes to five feet at the center. As well as a large whirlpool pool. Something the other place didn't have at all. You just can't compare the two facilities, the new one is so much better. I think it'll work out well for us. Dear Husband can walk on the treadmill and do the circuit machines while I do my water exercise. I probably won't be doing the structured aquacize classes because we need to be finished and back home by the time they start. But, there is an aqua zumba class one night a week, which sounds like a hell of a lot of fun, and I want to take that one as often as I can.

I had done some physical therapy at the place we belonged to on the other side of town, and at the end, the PTist helped me come up with a good solo water exercise routine I can do without an instructor. Also, water walking is a good exercise for me too. Just walking back and forth in chest deep water. You're getting the resistance from the water, so you have to work harder than walking on land. And it doesn't hurt my back. If I'm there and nobody else is in the pool, I can do that across the middle. But otherwise, I can stake out a spot and do my little routine.

I've been gathering my stuff up and loading some fun upbeat music on my waterproof mp3 player. This is the one I have:   It's a neat little gadget, but my only complaint is that the waterproof headphones are short and it's meant to be used with the entire unit hooked on a goggles strap. I don't wear goggles, so I have to wear the MP3 on a little cord around my neck, or clipped onto a headband. Which isn't a big deal, but I was under the impression that the headphone cord extension was waterproof too. But for the price, the sound quality is acceptable and it holds a charge plenty long enough for a week of workouts. It gives me something to listen to.

I'm looking forward to my first swim there, hopefully in another hour or so.

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