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Swimming: Not As Easy As I Remember From Childhood

pool workout

Credit: ♡Blackangelツ

When I was young, I swam almost daily during the summers. My grandma’s condo had a pool that was almost 5-feet deep in the shallow end and 10 feet in the deep end. The depth made the water freezing on all but the most sweltering of days. But whether because of the cold or just luck, the pool was almost always empty and my brothers and I owned that pool.

I swam like a fish. We perfected dives off the diving board, dove for coins, swam the length of the pool underwater, scored each other on underwater hand stands, and pretended to be the whale in Free Willy. (Maybe that last one was just me.) We were strictly timed on days we had baseball or softball games; I think we were only allowed in for a few minutes so as not to wear ourselves out. And for good reason. Swimming is exhausting.

I’ve been doing some swimming at the gym and, boy, is it not as easy as I remember it to be. Treading water gets me out of breath more quickly than I thought it would. And lap swimming? Holy toledo. I swam for about 30 minutes one day, taking breaks here and there to remain afloat. And it’s so deceiving. It feels hard while you’re swimming, yes. But your body is cool. You can’t tell how much you’re sweating. So by the time I went to haul myself out of the side of the pool, I was wishing I’d swam over to the steps. My arms could barely support my weight, and I swear I was all jiggly when I walked across the pool deck. It was whole-body fatigue like nothing else.

I am decades older than I was back in my pool days. And I am still working on bouncing back from pregnancy. But damn if swimming isn’t hard work. Those Olympians aren’t joking around.

What activities do you find to be way tougher as an adult? Jump rope, anyone? —Erin

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