(Click on photo above for video link)
The most challenging dichotomy of our everyday lives! As a foodie blogger, recipe creator, and long-time entertaining host, my thoughts (waking or sleeping), are of FOOD! Yet, as a sixty-five year young fashion conscience woman, I want to maintain as much of my youthful figure as I am able.
Growing up, I detested swimming. Why? My hair! (eye-roll) I was born with this crazy curly hair, and back in the 60’s, curly hair just wasn’t worn. On Anyone! So, the last thing I wanted to do, after many hours of removing my curls for the day, was to get them wet!
Fast forward to the 80’s and the pregnancy of my first child. No one I knew went to the gym, and occasionally I would see folks jogging. But me? Nope, I had no interest in exercise other than dancing or walking! And then came the unexpected pregnancy. It was the first time I took a serious look at the management of my body; what I ate, or how I might consider strengthening my body for the inevitable work out called ‘birthing’!
Suddenly the water, which I once detested, became my best friend. Nothing felt better during pregnancy than to remove all the sensation of weight from my body. Swim? Sure, I knew how to swim a little, but I still was conscience of having my curly hair floating around in all that chlorinated water. And so… My Essence Water Fitness was born.
It was out of necessity that I figured how I could move my body through the water, get the most out of upper, and then lower body movement to firm and strengthen. I remembered having seen a crew team along the Potomac River years earlier and understood that the oars that pulled the boat through the water, could act as weight bearing tools to restrain the body as it moved through the water. My arms could act as oars with hand paddles to restrain movement while strengthening my chest, back, arms, and neck muscles. I then tried the same concept with flippers on my feet, a straight scissor kick, and a kick-board to support my upper body in an L-shaped position, using the stomach muscles to hold that position, while strengthening my entire leg, buttocks, and hip area.
BINGO, it worked! When I became pregnant with my first child, I was wearing a woman’s dress size 10/12. By the time my baby was born, and I had spent 5 months doing this water routine a few times a week, and my post pregnancy dress size dropped to a 6! I was elated!!!
Four children later, menopause, and ultimately the arrival of my 60’s, I continued to do this very same water fitness routine when-ever, and where ever I could. I am exceptionally pleased to say that I am still wearing a size 6, sometimes an 8 (depending on the cut).
I will also share with you another benefit to this routine that has nothing to do with weight or body size. Joints. Bones. Muscles. All these things begin to decline or have aches and pains as we age. Since I now have arthritis in my lower back, I was once told by a doctor, that if I had not been using the weightlessness of the water, and the muscle strengthening of the routine I had created, I probably would not be able to bend over and tie my shoes!
Having access to a pool back in the 80’s was mostly limited to summer or warm climate region access. But, as years passed I soon found indoor pool facilities, and even some local hotels that were willing to charge a small fee for use of the indoor pool for exercise.
I am fully aware that each person must find a fitness program that best works for their lifestyle and willingness to maintain. I am also aware that as we age, many of the forms of exercise we may have loved to do when we were younger (such as jogging), are no longer advisable as we age. The weightlessness on the body in water is definitely a best-friend exercise to grow old with.
Just a note about this video in which I created in 2005. It was originally on Amazon in DVD format. It is now (2018) available in a downloadable format. On the video there is a mention of hand paddles of which I had made, but now I simply advise people to pick up hand paddles at a sports store.
Also, there is mention of a book – My Essence. It is a book I wrote and printed before self-publishing was available. I am currently preparing the files for this book to be published by Amazon. If you find yourself curious, excerpts from My Essence book were printed in another book that came later: Confessions of a Hairdresser, currently available on Amazon.
Thank you for your time and attention. No matter how you choose to exercise, do so out of love for yourself xo