Water Walking

Water Walking

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Say Hello to a Better Body!

Water Walking

Losing weight and staying in shape was never an issue in my twenties or even in my thirties. Something changed, however, when I reached my forties. I started to gain weight ever so gradually. Apparently my metabolism had slowed down without me even realizing it. By the time I turned fifty, I weighed forty pounds more than I had at my wedding!

Going to the gym three times a week and walking on the treadmill was helping me maintain my weight, but I wasn’t losing any. My wake-up call occurred when I saw a picture of myself and focused on how I had changed. I knew I needed to make a lifestyle change, take control of my weight and overall health, and do it right away.

I’m not exactly sure what contributed to the weight gain, but I probably should not have watched as many cooking shows as I did. The first thing I did was rein in my carbohydrate and sugar intake. Just making a few changes there paid great rewards. I started eating oatmeal for breakfast, snacked on nuts, and incorporated more fruits and vegetables into my diet. Ten pounds vanished pretty quickly, which made me think I was making progress.

I also decided to get a puppy. Taking my little Westie around the neighborhood several times a day definitely keeps me moving. Walking the dog helped, but I knew I needed to do more.

The answer to my exercise dilemma came at the end of May, when our local pool opened. That’s when I really stepped up my exercise program. I am proud to now call myself a water walker.

After the pool closes for the day for swimming, it reopens for all the adults who want to water walk. We walk through the pool, which is shaped like a winding lazy river, and is surrounded by flowers and other pools. Upbeat music plays as we march forward with the current or, for the really ambitious, walk against the current.

As you gingerly step into the pool for the first time, you can’t help but feel invigorated by the cool water. Walking in the water makes you feel refreshed and reenergized. It is great exercise for everyone since it is low impact. All of your stress from the day just melts away. People of all ages are able to participate and can walk at their own pace. Some jog through the water, some walk really fast, and some just saunter through for the fun of it.

Did I mention that everyone is smiling and laughing? There is a real sense of camaraderie and many new friendships are formed. I have encountered people from all walks of life and enjoy listening to everyone’s stories. We always encourage each other to come back the next night and tell each other that we have missed them if they have been away.

I must admit that I am totally addicted to water walking. I walk for the whole session of almost two hours and then take a victory lap by floating in an inner tube. My mood is not nearly as cheerful if I am not able to walk due to schedule conflicts or bad weather. I don’t even want to think about the end of the water-walking season. Labor Day weekend signifies the end of summer at the pool and everything closes down. We wish we could ask the park department to build a big bubble around our pool so that we could continue all year. But all good things must come to an end, so we will patiently wait until next May when we can begin again.

Thanks to all of the exercise I am getting, I am pleased to say that I have lost over twenty pounds. How did I lose weight? Diet and water… water walking, that is.

~ Kelley Knepper ~

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