Sunday, February 16, 2014

Just Keep Swimming!

It struck me this morning as I was trying to catch my breath while I clung to the edge of the pool.

My kids are pretty damned good athletes!

To know that they willingly (most of the time) go to swim practice and swim pretty much nonstop for 90 minutes with a coach hovering over them makes me pretty proud of them!

I got back in the pool for the first time this morning since my surgery. I've always been a "good" swimmer, but never a top athlete. I learned to swim the summer I turned three when my mom managed the Logan Municipal Pool. The lifeguards took me under their wings and taught me to swim. I spent every day of every summer at that pool. I'm sure I drove each and every lifeguard crazy through the years.

Swimming is a hard sport. It uses different muscles in different ways than other sports do. You use your entire body against the resistance of the water. There were lots of muscles that I used this morning that I haven't used in lots of time and I'm going to be using them some more.

Plus, when I get out of the pool, I can slip on over to the hot tub for a few minutes of stretching and relaxing!

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Me? A Fitness Freak?


My name is Andy and I like to exercise.

Yes, it's true. Six months ago, you would have never heard me say that sentence. NEVER. I have never liked to exercise. When I was little, I loved to swim, but it was mostly about playing in the water and socializing at the pool. Not about fitness.

In PE class at school, I used every excuse to get out of that day's physical activity. Usually the only C on my report card was in PE. Yes, I got Cs in PE. (the only D I ever got was in shop class, but that is a whole 'nother story!)

Since my open-heart surgery, I went through six weeks of Cardiac Rehab at HaysMed. It's part of the whole experience after surgery at the DeBakey Heart Institute of Kansas and it has changed how I look at life.

Before my surgery, exercise was something that I thought only fitness freaks did. I didn't truly comprehend and realize the health benefits associated with a true exercise plan (especially for those of us over 40).

It makes me feel better, both physically and emotionally. Those endorphins are just going crazy in my brain after an hour of working out. I feel like I could conquer the world after a good workout - and my workouts aren't anything too much off the charts. I do some simple cardio (treadmill, bike and some demon-machine that is like an elliptical, but not quite as demon-like) and then about 15-20 minutes of weight lifting.

Pretty good for a overweight, out-of-shape, 44-year-old who had heart surgery about 2 1/2 months ago. Initially, I lost weight, but now I've gained weight, but my belly is shrinking. Yes, I'm gaining muscle (and muscle weighs more than fat). I'm wearing clothes I haven't worn in years and I'm liking it!

I know it is a slow process, but I hope this new habit is one that sticks for the rest of my life. It makes me feel too damned good to quit now!