Heavy rains pelted the high windows above my bed this morning, awakening me to murky skies and a stormy threat. Every instinct urged me to pull the comforter over my ears and drift back into the safety of sleep.
Clearly, this did not bode well for my familiar neighborhood walk. Not a good day to hike the trails of my beloved Mt Pisgah or stride along the bike path by the river. It was instead, as we say in Oregon, a fine day for ducks. I hovered under protective cover as gusts of wind surged against the house. I pondered other options. But holiday indulgences weighed on my conscience when I considered a day off from exercise.
Take the Plunge
Better to get really wet and get it over, I decided. Take the plunge and move on! I packed my gym bag and headed for the swimming pool at the athletic club.
Although water seems not to be my natural element, I have discovered that it produces a healthy variation in my exercise program. For many years, I resorted to pool workouts only when an aching joint or athletic injury forced me off my feet for a break from dry-land exercise. Now, I attempt to include one water workout a week in my routine in recognition of the benefits derived from a change of motion.
A buoyant waist belt holds my head above water as I “jog” through 30-minutes of deep-water laps, but it’s my mind that keeps me moving. Simple focusing tools, like counting my “steps” or singing in my head help deflect the mental distractions that tempt me to cut a water workout short. (It’s boring in the pool!) With an eye on the clock, I push myself through a few 60-second speed burst, rotated with recovery laps. Then, I throw in a lap of cross-country skiing. The change of pace invigorates both body and mind.
Foul Weather Fitness
Adverse weather renews my commitment to athletic cross training. Left to my own desires, I’d prefer a walk or hike any day, but when I trade a walk for a deep-water jog I reap the benefits of a renegotiated truce with tight muscles and well-used knees. It’s a worthy effort on nasty days, but if this rain continues tomorrow, I’ll suit up and face the weather on foot, like a true Oregon Duck.