Lift, Stairs, Ladder or Arms

I’m working on Michelle Obama arms.  It’s a slow process, but I’ll get there.

When I was on the swim team, our coach expected us to get in and out of the pool on the side using just our arms.  While many on our team could pop right out of the water, like graceful otters, I’m pretty sure that I resembled more of a struggling seal pup.  Eventually, I figured out how to do it quickly and with more grace but I always looked like I was working hard.

It’s important to know that when I was a child, high-school sports were still for everyone.  On every team there were amazing athletes that later went on to compete at the college level (and sometimes beyond) but there were many people who were new to the sport as well.  When I joined the swim team, I did so for two reasons.  The pool was a few blocks for the Bagel Stop (the most amazing bagels in the Pacific Northwest at that time) and at the end of practice, both high school teams (we were a one pool town) sat in the hot tub and talked.  I liked swimming but I’d never worn a swim cap or a pair of goggles. I didn’t particularly like to work and I hated how I looked in a swim suit.  I DID have a bunch of friends on the team and fun people make hard work more tolerable.  

Since I started taking an aqua aerobics class at the local swim center in January, I’ve noticed that the people in my class are a lot like the kids on the high school swim team. Every single person is FUN.  On the first Wednesday of the month, they meet up for breakfast after class and I have been invited by almost every person in the pool.  In addition to eating together, they are silly and they sing!  When half the class sings along to Journey, Abba, and Tina Turner, you know it’s a fun group!

Earlier this week, we were in the shallow end of the pool, jogging in place with our arms outstretched .  We made small circles in the air and my biceps burned.  One of the jokesters made a comment and others joined it.  As the discussion continued about arm flab and flapping, I was surprised by how little arm flab there actually was. 

The average age of my class mates is somewhere around 70 so one would think that if there was a demographic that might have soft arms, this would be it.  Once folks are out of the pool, it seems that many complain of aching hips or knees.  Steps may be a bit slower than the average person but this group has shapely arms.

Our pool has a lift, steps and a ladder.  While not a single classmate pops onto the deck like my my high school coach encouraged, more use the ladder than the steps. This little bit of effort, may help keep bat wings at bay.   I realized today, as I used the steps, that if I’m going to get Michelle Obama arms, I need to stick with my water workouts and may consider lessons from my high school coach.

woman in white and red swimsuit idiving in water
Photo by Patrick Case on

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