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Monday, August 12, 2013

Aquatics in the News

In my zest to try lots of new classes, I may have overdone it a bit.  I am still a relatively new gym/pool rat, and trying 5 classes in a week was a little too ambitious for my knee.  I listened to my body and took a few days off and now that I'm feeling better I am back to the pool (a more reasonable 3 or 4 times a week).  I am scheduled to try Aqua Zumba tomorrow, so watch this space.

In the meantime, there have been a few interesting water related articles in the news.

Aqua Lillies

My college friend Ah Q (not her real name) is a big fan of the blog, and we are both obsessed with organizing a trip to the mermaid camp at Weeki Wachee (her boyfriend was very amused/perplexed by our mermaid camp plan).  Anyway, over a delicious dinner at Cafe China in Manhattan, she told me about the Aqualillies, a synchronized swimming performance group that was recently profiled in the New York Times.  The Aqualillies bill themselves as "the world's most glamorous synchronized swimming entertainment company, reinventing the classic art for the new millennium."  They perform at various events and they even offer classes at several venues in Los Angeles, including Griffith Park and the amazing Annenberg Beach House as well as private lessons at home pools in L.A.  It all seems very retro and glamorous and I may need to plan a trip to L.A. to visit my friends and take a class.  They are also planning to expand their classes to other cities.  I can't wait.  I may even buy one of those crazy flowery swim caps.

In the meantime, Manhattan Plaza Health Club on West 43rd also offers synchronized swim classes -- it's on my list to try in the next month or so, with my intrepid friend (and fellow deep water running devotee) Lisa G.

Post Sandy Swim Lessons

I mentioned in an earlier post that I was afraid of the deep water as a child.  So I was really moved by an article in the New York Times about people from oceanfront communities in the area who are learning to swim in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.  It profiles several residents of seaside neighborhoods, including a teenager from Far Rockaway who decided to conquer his fear of the water and learn how to swim.  The article also lists several non-profit organizations that offer free or low cost swimming lessons, including the Swim Strong Foundation and the NYC Parks Department's Learn to Swim program.   The programs are trying to address the (economic) disparity that many of the residents who live along the City's beaches cannot swim.  I remember what it was like to be afraid of the water and how empowering and life changing it was to conquer that fear.  It's a good read.     

Jane Brody on Water Exercise

I have been a Jane Brody fan for years -- I love her cookbooks.  So I was chuffed to discover that she is also a swimmer.  She wrote about it last year in a great article on the Zen of swimming, in which she talked about some of the benefits of swimming.  I was intrigued by her blog in today's Times in which Brody (who is not a physician) talked about the relationship of swimming and bone health (which concerns me as I forge through middle age).  Although the article talks about whether swimming negatively affects bone health, I was pleased to read the following comment:

"If you have access to chest-high water in a pool, lake or seaside, you can build muscle mass and strengthen bones by walking forward and backward and side-to-side in the water, she said. This can strengthen the quads, buttocks and core, providing bone stimulation for the spine and hips and shock absorption for the knees."
That is EXACTLY what I have been doing for the past 8 months.  I feel very validated (i.e., glad I listened to the knee doc).  

- MM 

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