Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

After yesterday I though it would be nice to have a silly post today, so here goes! While I was aqua-jogging this morning, I got to thinking about...well, aqua-jogging. It’s been almost a year since I started, and while I hated it at first I’ve actually grown fond of it in some ways. Of course, it has its downsides too...when it comes right down to it I’d MUCH rather be out on the roads, but the pool is definitely a good option too.

So here’s my tribute to the successes and sufferings of aqua-jogging. It may seem like I found more cons than pros, but really--it’s not that bad!

The Good

  • It’s no-impact. If you’re accident-prone like me, or have lower bone density (also like me :(), this is a big plus, if not a necessity. Even if you don’t have issues, it’s good to give your body a break from all that pounding.
  • It keeps you cool. Just think, you could be sweating it out on a treadmill. Instead you’re sweating it out in the pool...where you can’t even tell you’re sweating.
  • You have more energy. Water lets me go longer before I feel tired (probably because it’s cool). If I’m biking it’s easier to feel like I’ve been going for longer than I really have.
  • It’s a wake-up call. If I’m tired (as in sleepy) before I get in the pool, the water wakes me up a little. Again, probably because it’s cold. On the other hand, if it’s cold outside I don’t really want to get in the water. ;)
  • You don’t have to think about breathing. Not like in swimming, anyway. Since you never put your face in the water (ideally), you are free to do whatever you want without having to worry about drowning. This is especially handy when you feel the need to sneeze.
  • You don’t have to worry about what’s really in the water going into your mouth. If you thought about it too hard you might never put your face in a public swimming pool again. ’Nuff said.
  • It really IS a workout! Studies have shown that aqua-jogging can actually increase your VO2 max. It’s a full-body workout, especially if you don’t use a belt (trust me, I was sore all through the arms/shoulders when I first started), which means better all-around fitness. And it does work the same muscles as running. Of course, all of these things are provided you do it “correctly.” And don’t ask me what that is, I’m still not sure I’m doing it right!

The Bad

  • You’re always the first person to get a lane buddy. It doesn’t matter where, when, or how. If all the lanes are taken you’re like a magnet for the next swimmer that walks through the locker-room door. I get that it’s easier to avoid collisions when one of you is looking straight ahead, and I don’t take up as much room as somebody doing butterfly, but...
  • You get splashed in the face a lot. I mean a LOT. From your lane buddy, from the next lane over...sometimes even the guy two lanes over! I got all three types this morning. Even if it’s not in the hair smells like chlorine for the rest of the day. It doesn’t come out.
  • You have to avoid flailing body parts. I have been kicked in the stomach, arm, leg, and yes, ass. Breaststroke swimmers are the worst offenders, but I had a lady doing sidestroke claw me in the thigh several times one day because she was reaching under the lane line and I was sharing with another swimmer (see #1). I also had an old guy club me in the head while doing freestyle. Twice.
  • It’s boring. This isn’t too bad, really. You can watch the other swimmers. You can pretend you’re in a video game while dodging vicious physical assaults. And being on a treadmill or elliptical isn’t that much different.
  • It’s easy to forget what you’re doing. That may not seem like a bad thing, but I find my mind wandering sometimes instead of concentrating on keeping up an effort. If you just float along placidly you’re not getting a good workout. Make sure your legs keep churning!
  • You smell like chlorine. Maybe this doesn’t apply so much to guys, but for girls: if you do it often enough, the smell sticks in your hair. And the worst part is, after a while you don’t even smell it. I only know this because other people tell me I stink. The best way to get rid of it is to sweat it which case you stink in a different way.

The Ugly hair when I get done! I’ve figured out how to not intentionally get it wet (by tying it up on a loop), but going back to’s a losing battle. :) I suppose I could always wear a swim cap, but would that really make it look any better?
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