I love going to the pool. I like the feeling of being in the water, and I like being able to exercise without feeling all sweating and disgusting. Because of this, when my physical therapist suggested I should skip walking the track and neighborhood for deep water walking, I was like, heck yeah! I don’t mind walking, I love being in the pool; I just hit the exercise jackpot!
For the uninitiated, deep water walking is where you strap on a really thick, wide, closed-cell foam belt, get in the deep end of the pool, and walk back and forth. The theory, in my case, is that this will allow me to get the benefit of walking while allowing the stress fractures in my feet to fully heal.
I had visions of walking nearly effortlessly around the pool, exercising my muscles while bobbing along like a three year old wearing floaties. That is, until Brian the Great asked the question, “So, if your feet don’t touch the bottom of the pool, how to you move forward?” Thank you, dear. Now I’m insecure… I googled it to learn how it works, and headed out first thing this morning, ready to have some fun.
The first sign I was in trouble was in getting the belt on. (The belt shall now and forever more be known as the Belt of Floundering.) My physical therapist had warned me to make sure it was tight enough that it didn’t ride up. I put it on, cinched it as tight as I could, and got in the pool. The belt was apparently afraid of the water, as it did everything it could to stay at the surface. If it weren’t for my armpits catching it, the Belt of Floundering might have slipped right over my head. I took it off while in the pool and discovered that trying to put something determined to float around your waist while up to your ears in water isn’t a good idea.
Once the belt was in place, I tried to walk. The therapist told me it was important to make sure I stayed completely upright and didn’t allow the belt to push me into a leaning forward posture. She failed to tell me the reason. Oh sure, she said something about it being bad for my lower back, but I learned the real reason. All it took was a little lean forward and the Belt of Floundering conspired to shove me WAY forward. As in, one degree more of leaning and I’m positive I would have ended up upside down in the pool, doing my best impression of a duck feeding on a lake. Bottoms up!
As for gently paddling around the pool, well, that proved to be elusive as well. I soon discovered that the term “walking” is taken rather loosely in Deep Water Walking. It ended up being much more like Treading Water While Cross Country Skiing Up To Your Neck in Pudding. I was concerned that it would be a nuisance to turn frequently, since half of the pool was roped off for swimming lessons. I needn’t have worried. Any forward progress was so slow (and I’m convinced accidental) that I welcomed the turn in the middle of the pool just for the change in scenery. My arms were pumping, my legs were pumping, and there I was, in the middle of the pool, going nowhere.
Are we having fun yet?