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Real retirement goals include getting, staying fit

One of my goals upon retirement was to find ways to become more physically active. I dove right into that task immediately.

OK, I didn’t literally dive in, though I could have. I just figured it might hurt my back if I didn’t hit the water exactly right. That’s right, my biggest fitness initiative involves working out in the pool at Eastern New Mexico University.

When I say working out in the pool, people automatically assume I’m going to swim laps. When I started, lap swimming was only a distant thought in my mind. The last several years I’ve actually taken a class through distance learning called Aqua Fitness. It was early in the morning and fit my work and home schedule pretty well. It was geared mostly toward stretching and muscle tone with not a lot of aerobic points.

Most semesters I was actually the youngest in the class except for the instructor. I was also the only man in the class except for one or two semesters when there was one international student attending. I got along with the ladies but the class was suddenly pulled last spring for lack of lifeguards.

Since retiring I secured an annual pass and have started going to the pool 2-3 days a week. When I go, I work on all the exercises I was doing in the class and can work harder on the things I think are doing me the most good. I also put in a lot of time walking across the pool in chest-deep water. In the water I can actually move and stand and get my crooked scoliosis-racked spine somewhat straight and I can do it without pain in my legs and back. That’s something I can’t do on dry land unless, oddly enough, I’m pushing a shopping cart.

Growing up as a teen, my brother and I saved up our paper route money and purchased an 18-foot, round, above-ground pool. You really couldn’t swim in the thing, but you could glide across the width under water.

We also enjoyed an activity we called “the whirlpool,” where we began walking around the pool in the same direction, creating a current and kind of a whirlpool. Little did I know, as a senior walking in the water would be a focus of my fitness program.

After I had been going to the campus pool awhile I noticed that some nights there were a good number of folks there to swim laps. Some nights what I was doing and what they were doing didn’t mesh well.

I went shopping and bought a mask, snorkel and fins and began lap swimming with them part of the night. Having once been a scuba diver, in fact gaining my certification in that very pool, it felt comfortable and safe to me. It’s also giving my legs a heck of a workout and I’m getting some cardio out of it.

I’ve got to say that I feel really good after a session at the pool. I’ve also got a couple of Asian ladies on YouTube filling in the days I don’t go to the pool with gentle yoga stretches.

The real goal is to get fit enough I can walk further and safer to the fishing hole.

Karl Terry writes for Clovis Media Inc. Contact him at:

[email protected]