As I got back into the pool last week (between hiking, the temporary closing of my favorite pool, and busyness, I’ve let myself get away from this for a couple of months), I once again pondered why I liked swimming so much.
I think the big draw for me is the sensory deprivation. All I see (through fogged-up goggles) is the bottom of the pool, the ceiling, then the bottom of the pool again. All I hear is my own rhythmic splashing and the occasional muffled shout or whistle from someone on the other side of the pool. All I can feel is the soothing, warm water. The task before me requires no thought: I’ve done it hundreds of times before. My mind wonders where it will, allowing me to process my day without any distraction.
But that’s not the only draw. I think exercise has it’s own appeal in and of itself. Professionals might tell you about the endorphin or other physical byproducts of exercise that creates a good sensation when you workout, but I don’t know much about all that. What I do know is that we were created by a loving God to move.
The good God who gives us pleasant sensations when we do the most menial tasks of life (eating, drinking, and going to the bathroom), also gives us pleasant feelings when we do the harder tasks. This was an accident.
We were never designed to sit on our duffs for the majority of our days. Throughout all cultures, sitting for long stretches was reserved for the sick, disabled, and elderly, not for people with able bodies. Sitting was a luxury, anyway, as most people (in history, and even today in the greater world) have to physical exert themselves to meet their own needs and the needs of their families.
I want to making movement more of a part of my life. I always drive to the grocery store, but really, it’s less than a mile away. Most weeks, I don’t buy enough food to be overly encumbered on a mile walk back home. I opt for the drive thru instead of walking in (or better yet, making the food myself). I mindlessly followed the culture around me in these habits, but I want to work on making movement a habit.
Photo by Adam Tinworth