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Trying any new thing is a good way to expand your comfort zone in all areas of life.

I grew up on a river and spent years as a “river rat.” You could find me most any day doing something on the water…fishing, crabbing, sailing, swimming, and anything else I could do, I’d be doing. I used to swim to “cool off” or to go somewhere. I never swam, as a competitive swimmer or used swimming as a form of exercise. I either did it because I was hot or because my Dad was fishing in the creek a few miles away and I wanted to fish too…so I would swim to where he was and climb in the boat.

The idea of swimming to exercise has never been appealing to me. Also, from an aerobic exercise standpoint, I do an hours worth of reading while on a bike or treadmill in the morning at the YMCA…I think it might be a little difficult to do my reading while swimming! Anyway, there is a group of athletes that do competitive events, like marathons, triathlons, and distance swims that I am friendly with and they work out at the same time of day that I do and have for years.

Gradually Kathy, the leader of the swimming workouts they do, began nudging me to get in the pool with them one morning and do one of their swimming workouts with them. For the first year or so I just responded that I couldn’t read and swim, so swimming didn’t fit my routine. Not to mention, the idea of swimming for exercise held no appeal to me, and I don’t really like swimming pools as a place to go swimming anyway. But she stayed on me about it and finally a week ago I acquiesced and joined them for one of their Tuesday workouts.

I consider myself in pretty good shape. I do over an hour of cardio everyday and resistance training 6 days a week. But it became quickly apparent to me that swimming was a little different. The hour in the pool with this group kicked my butt. I couldn’t believe how hard it was for me. I couldn’t come close to keeping up with them. I probably only did about half of the workout they did and my arms felt like they were ready to fall off! But I enjoyed it and on Thursday I went back again. It was every bit as hard for me, but I did about 70% of the workout and I am going back tomorrow.

Now its a challenge for me. I’m going to continue with this group until I can keep up. Not for any other reason than it’s something else in life that I can do, is good to do, and will make me better in other ways too just by doing it.  It doesn’t hurt that  its a great group of people too!

I felt like a fish out of water the first time I got in the water with the group…but in no time it will be comfortable, and my comfort zone will have expanded a tiny bit more. Hmmm….what else can I do today to expand my comfort zone a hair. Better yet, what are you doing today that will take you out of your comfort zone? Remember, you have to go out on a limb to get the fruit.

Thank you to Kathy and the rest of the swimmers for welcoming me and encouraging me.


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