For the past few years, my husband and I have enjoyed boating on a small lake—never more than a few minutes from shore. With our move to Florida, however, we now have more places than ever to explore on the water. Our plans for adventures are bigger, but for now, we’re enjoying visits to the barrier islands just outside of our backyard. All that to say, during the past few years, I kept wondering how good my swimming skills still are. The last time I remember actually swimming (i.e. not just floating around on an inflatable pool hammock) was back when I was a cadet and we trained in the pool to tread water, which was 20 years ago!
A few weeks ago, during one of our boat trips to a small key roughly 18 miles from our home, I hopped off our boat to place the stern anchor at the beach and realized we weren’t shallow enough yet for me to touch the bottom. No other option but to swim!
After a split second of panic as my brain processed the situation (and I hoped swimming was like riding a bike, i.e. you never forget!) I indeed swam 10 or 15 feet closer to shore and found I could touch. Between Jeff and I, we got the stern anchor placed (bow anchor was already in) and we got settled into our spot. Shore anchoring is a new skill we’ve picked up here in Florida!
Once all the excitement was over, as I stood in the shallow water and caught my breath, I remembered what an intense workout swimming is! I’ve now made a commitment to myself that each time we go out on the boat, I’ll take some time to swim along the shoreline to practice my skills and improve my cardiovascular endurance. A win-win for better fitness and safety!
To me, working out and staying healthy is more than just about fitting into a certain dress size. It’s about living life to the fullest and being capable. Capable of doing every day tasks, capable of being independent, capable of trying something new, capable of enjoying what life has to offer, and capable of swimming to shore when you realize you’re in the deep end! If you’ve found yourself skipping workouts more often or letting your fitness fall by the wayside, let this be a reminder to get back at it. Walk, lift weights, run, jump, or play, just find something that keeps you active, happy, and enjoying life.
And to all you swimmers out there, hats off to you!