A few moments after stepping from the shower this morning, the children arrived downstairs exhibiting quite the craziest bed-heads I had seen in some time. The first words out of their mouths confirmed that children never forget anything.”Are we going swimming?”My other half had mentioned that we might. Of course “we” is a very flexible term, and really meant me – not her. An hour later we found ourselves at the local swimming pool, waiting in the cue with various swimming bags tucked under our arms.

I’m not quite sure how I’ve become so unfit. After larking around in the water with the children for an hour – while trying to get them to swim “properly” to see how they are getting on, they disappeared in the direction of the slide, and left me alone in the pool for a bit. I know, I thought, I’ll swim a couple of lengths.

The first length was quite easy – front crawl down to the far end of the pool, watching the tiles slide by on the bottom of the pool, and trying to concentrate on reaching for the water in front of me – stretching each long stroke as far as I could. On the way back down the pool my shoulders kind of went on vacation. I get it – I sit at a desk most days, and ride a mountain bike a few miles every day. Therefore I have legs that can spin big gears all day long, but my shoulders… not so much.

While waiting for the kids to get changed afterwards, I wondered if it’s worth doing any specific weights type exercises to help with swimming, or if it’s one of those activities (like running) where the only real exercise that helps is the activity itself.

Maybe next time we visit I’ll let the kids go play, and do a few laps in the roped off lanes (there are always a few lanes roped off for those wishing to swim up and down). I used to be able to swim a mile pretty easily in my late teens, but now… not so sure. As with everything else, finding time to go swimming regularly will be the challenge. If we go on weekends, it will almost certainly mean dropping other things to make it happen. Saying no to other people, other teams, and so on.

Maybe that’s it – maybe we just need to learn how to say “no” more often.

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