Health

Learning To Swim

Eight weeks ago I finally got around to taking swimming lessons. It's something that I had been planning to do ever since moving to live near the beach 18 months ago. There are a number of reasons for this: firstly, I don't feel safe in the ocean when I'm out of my depth. Deep down I know that I'm not a confident swimmer and whenever I'm in deep water my body responds with a lot of anxiety. I figured that if I knew I could swim confidently I wouldn't get so anxious about not being able to touch the bottom.I go body boarding a lot and I feel relatively safe with the board strapped to my arm. But I get caught in rips all the time and I know that if the strap was to break or I lost the board somehow, I'd be in real trouble. Plus I think swimming is a great exercise for overcoming deep-seated anxiety. The full immersion in the water gives gentle stimulation to our nervous system, and it's also a relatively low impact exercise. So long as you don't drown, that is. [caption id="attachment_2733" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Swimming: How hard can it be? Swimming: How hard can it be?[/caption] The arm movement involved in swimming could also be particularly beneficial. We generally use our arms to move things in our environment: to take action; and I believe that taking action is the antidote to the anxiety that we feel when we think was are powerless. I also suspect that the migraine headaches I sometimes get are related to muscle tension in the back of my neck and shoulders. Getting some motion on my shoulders and neck should help release that tension and give me the feeling that I'm moving forward under my own power. (more…)

By Graham Stoney, ago