Weighty Matters

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The Swimming Gizmo

on July 29, 2012

I mentioned in yesterday’s post that I bought this swimmy gizmo to use in my pool.  I have a small pool, just barely 14 feet in length which means that I can swim about two and a half strokes end to end.  It’s not meant for swimming laps.  It’s about four and a half feet deep, which gives me enough water to jog and do aerobics.

When I planned the pool, I kept telling the company that I wanted jets at one end that would kick up a constant current that I could swim against.  The guy told me he knew what I was talking about and, yes, my pool would have them.  Well, his understanding didn’t jibe with my expectations.  The jets at the end circulate the water when the pump is going but they don’t generate enough power for me to swim against.  I spoke to him about it a few times after the pool was first finished, but we never progressed.  I could force the issue but, instead, I found other ways to make the most out of the exercise opportunity the pool provides.

I love pulling on my suit and heading out to watercise.  Even way before weight loss surgery, I enjoyed going to aquacise classes.  Unfortunately, they aren’t offered early enough in the morning for me to go to class, shower, change and get to work on time, so putting in the pool at home was a luxury that I justified.  I have a playlist of upbeat songs on my iPod Nano.  I set it up with the outdoor speakers, set a timer on my phone and start moving.  I jog, dance, do lunges and squats and, in general, push my self to keep moving for 45 minutes or so.

The pool and my yard are private enough that I don’t worry about someone seeing me and this frees me to move and dance at will.  When I was at my heaviest and had difficulty simply walking without losing my breath, I could still work out in the pool and achieve some cardio benefit — without messing up my weak left knee.  The pool kept me from being completely sedentary.

Now that I’ve lost weight, I’d like to do more actual swimming, or at least more than three strokes end to end.  (Yes, I know that I live on a harbor with lots and lots of water.  Sadly, I won’t swim in it due to the large number of boats moored in it.  I can never be quite confident that those boats are following the proper pump out procedures, meaning that they actually have their tanks pumped out by the special boat.)  A week or so ago, I was researching equipment to increase the effectiveness of my aqua cise.  I found water dumbbells to work my arms and things to strap around my ankles for more resistance.  Then I stumbled upon a swimming gizmo.  Basically, it’s a long tether with ankle straps on each end.  In theory, you put it around a railing or fence, strap it to your nakles and swim, knowing that the tether will keep you in place.

If you’re in the mood to be kinky, the gizmo could double for water bondage.  (50 Shades of H20?)

In theory, the design is a good idea.  In execution, there are challenges.   I wrapped the tether around the bottom of the railing, strapped the ends to my ankles and swam out.  I don’t know if the angle’s off from the railing to the water’s surface, or if I’m still carrying too much weight, but I constantly felt like my chest and head wanted to sink lower than my legs.  I could not get a smooth series of strokes going no matter how I tried.   I flailed around for a few minutes and then rolled over onto my back.  That worked a little better, but it wasn’t great.

After about ten minutes, I decided to switch to the ankle “weights” and dumbbells.  I did a bunch of different maneuvers, treading water while working my core, legs and arms for almost thirty minutes.   This proved to be much more effective exercise, judging from my heart rate and the feelings in my muscles.  When my timer went off, I knew that I’d worked.

After I finished my session, I studied the tether gizmo for awhile.  I’m not sure what else I could do to make it work better.   It wasn’t very expensive, so if I don’t figure out anything it won’t be the worst thing that happens.  At least I gave it a shot.  For someone who’s spent much of her life actively avoiding exercise, trying anything new is progress.


5 responses to “The Swimming Gizmo

  1. hoperoth says:

    I’ll trade aqua aerobics classes with you! Mine are too early in the morning. I keep turning off my alarm at 5am because I’m not ready to be awake yet. :p

  2. Mary says:

    I agree with Skye. I imagined something around your torso. Could you wear a belt and attached one or two tethers to the belt? Or a harness of some sort? (Now that does sound kinky.)


    • Mary says:

      *attach (I claim caffeine deficiency.)

    • Mary Stella says:

      I think if I tried to tether it to a belt around the torso, the cord part would get in the way of my kicking legs. I believe I’m going to leave it alone for now and use the other equipment I purchased which does increase the effectiveness of my jogging, dancing, and other movement.

  3. Skye says:

    How odd, I would think that it would attach to the torso rather than the ankles. Of course, the bondage possibilities are always useful. 🙂

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