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Adventures in Fitness: Family Fun

Posted Jul 07 2010 12:00am

As you guys know, one of the main things I’ve been trying to focus on this summer is exercise. While I haven’t been a regular at the gym (yet!), I have been enjoying two activities: walking Lulu and swimming.

When Lulu and I go on a walk where there’s a huge expanse of grass, this is sometimes how I feel.  ;)   I can tell she wants to run and run and run, but I’m not able to keep up with her on our normal 6-foot leash.  And then after I thought about it, I realized that the answer was simple.  It’s time to get a retractable leash.  So, we headed to PetSmart and we got a 16-foot retractable, and let me tell you, the extra 10 feet makes all the difference! Yesterday we headed to the Rose Garden and we had the BEST time.  Lulu was able to run ahead, and then when the leash got taut, she would run back to me, and then run ahead again.  The nice thing about the leash is that I can stop it, so I can control her if someone is running/walking by or if another dog appears.  I did got along with her for a bit, but it was nice not feeling like I had to keep running the entire time, because I’m just not up for that yet. We were able to walk for a mile, which is far for little Lulu, and it was great.

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it or not, but my dad had arthroscopic knee surgery a few months ago.  My dad’s knees are really bad; he’s had several surgeries on both knees, and had a total knee replacement on one of them.  My parents are planning to go on a 3-week cruise to Italy and the Mediterranean in October, but my mom is really worried that unless my dad progresses with the amount of walking he can do, they won’t be able to go.  My parents sacrificed so much so that my sister and I could have a wonderful life, and this trip is the first time anywhere out of the country.  Going to Italy, the birthplace of their grandparents and parents, is so important to them.  I want to do whatever I can to help my dad recover quickly, and Monday we spent a few hours in the pool with my nieces.  When I asked my dad how he felt afterward, he said his knee hadn’t felt that good in a long time.  So I suggested that we try to go to the pool every day.  It will be good for him and for me, so it’s perfect.

I absolutely love swimming because it’s so relaxing, soothing, and just a great way to use my muscles while keeping it no-impact.  I’m a good swimmer, but there’s just one problem: I don’t really swim the “right” way.  I took swimming lessons when I was little, but somehow along the way, I forgot how to breath while you stroke in the water.  Instead of doing this:

I just hold my breath as long as I can and then put my head outside of the water, gulp a breath, and keep swimming.  Needless to say, it’s not the most efficient or effective way to swim.  Because of it, I’ve started swimming laps along the short length of the pool so that I can hold my breath the entire time, uninterrupted.  The thing is, by the time I get to the one side, I am gasping for breath, which means I need to stop for a second and catch my breath before I can continue swimming. Not the end of the world, but not perfect either.  When I was telling my dad this, he said that he could easily teach me how to swim the right way, so we’re going to have our first lesson today.  I can’t wait!  (I think my dad feels really good about my needing his help, so it’s going to make our daily jaunts to the pool that much more important to him.  He’s so selfless that I think he’d be more hesitant to go if he thought it was only for his knee).

I guess the point of this post is that exercise has become really fun when I do it with someone else in mind.  Whether it’s walking/jogging with Lulu or going swimming with my dad, feeling like the exercise isn’t just about me is a nice feeling.

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