Please help me work up the nerve to start lap swimming again
September 24, 2013 12:22 PM Subscribe
I've done lap swimming very intermittently over the last 20 or so years. I think I'm an okay swimmer - I always did well enough when I was in practice - and I always liked the activity itself (made me feel a little more graceful than IRL). I can keep myself from drowning but I am way out of shape. I am motivated to start exercising and swimming is going to be the best option for my needs but I am really anxious about going.
posted by Beti to health & fitness (25 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
My anxiety is partly generalized "doing something new/going somewhere new" and partly due to my physical shape (5-04, 180#). I mean I don't even own shorts and now I'm thinking of basically being in my underwear in front of complete strangers. (I have found a swimsuit that is pretty modest as far as swimsuits go but I'm still going to feel very exposed.) I'm also worried about being a very slow swimmer and sharing a lane. I feel like I'm going to be the slowest person there and in everyone's way all the time.
The last time I tried to go swimming, about 7 or 8 years ago, I couldn't even get out of the car to go inside! I told my husband about it recently and he was sympathetic but it was clear this kind of anxiety preventing me from doing something is completely alien to his Type A extroverted self and he can't be much help.
I'm pretty motivated to exercise but need something non-impact. I started the Couch to 5K program a couple of months ago and really liked it but even that was too much and I totally messed up my knee which was already weakened from a broken leg four years ago. It's not so much joint pain as muscle and tendon overuse, I think, so walking or bicycling aren't options to increase my endurance right now.
I've never liked working out in a gym so working out around people is going to be challenging (one of the reasons I liked running).
I work swing shift so unfortunately early morning hours are only an option on Saturdays. The pool I'd be going to I think will be a friendly enough environment - more middle America and less LA - so intellectually I know I probably won't be the most out of shape person there but but emotionally I feel like I'm just one big cellulite factory.
Any suggestions for ways to deal with the anxiety? Any anecdotal "I am/was in your situation" stories are welcome, too. I really want to take advantage of my inclination to exercise. Thank you!