I gave my poor, weary body a rest this evening and went for a swim. Well, swimming is still exercise obviously. As was my cycle commute to work today, come to that. But that doesn't really count and I'm not entirely sure swimming does either. Anyway. The point is that I went for a swim instead of going running. Cross-training is supposed to be good for you, and all this running has been giving me something of a stiff back and sore legs, so I thought I'd do something different.
Swimming is usually a regular part of my training, and I'll usually go to the pool a couple of times a week. Since my running really started to ramp up in around about September, I've barely been at all. I only swam fifty (24m) lengths this evening, but it didn't take me long to realise that my time out of the pool has clearly taken its toll on the muscles in my arms and shoulders.
There are two main reasons why I swim: the first is because it's really good for my back. I'm tall and swimming seems to stretch my back out and keep the problems away. The other reason is because my MS means that I have some muscle wastage across my arms and shoulders and swimming is about the only exercise that I do that works those muscles. In fact, I barely use my legs in the pool at all, using a pull buoy to make absolutely sure that I work my arms good and proper.
Except, because I haven't been swimming in months, I haven't been working those muscles and they seem to be disappearing again. This evening, I could feel the loss of strength after about five lengths, and by the time I'd dragged myself through fifty lengths, I was pretty tired and my arms and shoulders were pretty sore. My back felt great, mind....
I suppose I could choose to be depressed about this. I've never done more exercise than I'm doing now, but clearly that's not enough to stop this sneaky, insidious condition robbing me of something else. But, you know.... what would be the point? The only thing to do about it is to take some positive action. The swimming I was doing before was clearly helping me maintain my muscle condition and to slow -- if not actually halt -- the muscle degeneration. So I need to get back into the water more regularly.
Honestly, what's the alternative? I'm hardly likely to start pumping iron, am I?
Hmm. Perhaps I should? I reckon I could carry that look off.....