Hello all you gorgeous people!
Today I have a little treat for you – a guest post from the fabulous Katie. The wonderful Katie blogs over at smallgirl towers, and is here to tell us all about her return to swimming today – so after you’ve read her post, head over to her blog and leave her some love!
When I was in my old job, I cycled 20 miles a week to and from work. A year ago, I quit that job to go back to my PhD full time and moved to a city with a) good public transport and b) a road system I have no desire to subject me or my bike (Rudy) to.
I love doing my PhD, but going from riding my bike everywhere and a job where I was constantly on the go to spending six hours a day sitting in the library (or, erm, avoiding sitting in the library by sitting in the postgrad coffee lounge) means the only exercise I was getting involved climbing the stairs of the Arts building when the lift was out of order.
So last month, my friend and I signed up for a year’s membership to the university pool. I love to swim, but swimming alone has always posed something of a problem for me, because as soon as I take my glasses off I am liable to trip/slip/wander into the men’s changing room by accident. (Having seen some of the middle-aged Speedo-clad specimens cluttering up the pool, believe me when I say it really would be a heinous accident.) But with swim buddy in tow, I’m finally getting in some serious exercise for the first time in months!
The first session was pretty tough, but since then it’s become a little easier every time. I’ve been keeping track of the number of lengths I manage every week (here), but I admit I haven’t set myself any solid goals as such. My main aim is to use the swimming as a kind of mental break, a spot in my day where I can switch off from all the academic stuff and just focus on slicing through the water. (I say slicing. If you’ve seen me, you might notice it’s more of a ‘meander’ through the water at times.)
So far, it seems to be working. In the couple of weeks since I started, I’ve noticed I’ve been sleeping a lot better. At night when I come home, I feel exhausted, rather than just lethargic. I have more focus when I’m working, and I’m hoping over time that it might reduce my stress levels, too!
The beauty of being a member of the pool right on campus means I can drop in for twenty minutes on my way home, or half an hour before I start research for the day, without really going out of my way (and without giving me any of those handy maybe-tomorrow excuses!). I’m hoping that this will help when it’s no longer July and the weather is wet and miserable, which is normally when my appetite for any kind of exercise diminishes.
I’ve even managed to brave the pool alone, and am happy to report no head on collisions (or Speedo-related incidents) at all… so far.