After an absurdly long stretch of gray, ugly rain, it seems that Seattle has finally decided that it will indeed join the rest of the civilized world in hosting Summer 2009. THE SUN IS OUT! Finally! It makes a Southern girl like me just want to sit on a porch swing and drink sunlight and sweet tea. And I do mean SIT. Not run, jog, or cycle. Okay, walking might be all right, but nothing faster than a brisk amble. Anything faster than that, and I’d miss the scenery, like all these gorgeous orange poppies blooming near my Northgate apartment. Anything faster, and one could be in serious danger of spilling one’s sweet tea, and that’s just wrong . . . unless the sweet tea is that nasty fake stuff from McDonald’s (which is no doubt making several past generations of Southern mothers and grandmothers spin in their graves).
Exercise doesn’t have to be intense to be effective. I’ve noticed that Seattleites almost seem to think that they must pay for the blessing of good weather by attempting to kill themselves reenacting Nike commercials while it’s here. Is it wrong to enjoy sitting on a sunny porch or taking a sunny walk, and right to enjoy sweating off half of one’s body weight climbing a sunny mountain? Well, no. Still, I’ve noticed that many of my out-of-shape clients, or those whose bodies have suffered injuries over the years, feel very guilty about not being able to get out and become Lance Armstrong on a bike or one of the Williams sisters on a tennis court. And what happens sometimes is that they injure or re-injure themselves trying to “exercise and be healthy.”
In response to this tragic phenomenon, I try to suggest to my clients forms of exercise that are gentler, kinder, and in my opinion, infinitely more fun and more easily accomplished with a tea glass nearby. Take swimming, for example. I have suggested it to a LOT of clients who have seen a LOT of benefits. You don’t have the impact issues you have with many activities, and you work about three times as hard doing it as you think you are due to the resistance factor. Furthermore, you don’t have to know special strokes or even do laps. I have clients who take Styrofoam boards like little kids and kick up and down the pool and who are now enjoying greater range of motion and have less pain than they’ve had in years. This is a very good thing, people! Seattle is blessed with a number of public pools, many of them indoors and most of them easily accessible. Swimming is beneficial and fun, so remember to go splash around this summer and encourage your clients to do the same—sweet tea optional