Friday Reflection: Exercising mind and body

I was intrigued by a recent article about the “long distance runner” and the comparison with its ‘ugly sister’, the swimmer.

My main way of keeping fit nowadays is lap swimming. As I have just turned 70, my knees have been complaining due to years of distance running, so I have retired to the 50-metre pool for my fix of exercise. When I was running, I was able to chat to a partner and enjoy the scenery but in the pool it became ‘black line fever’!

In order to give yourself a meaningful workout, you need to be swimming at a reasonable pace for at least 30 minutes. That gives you heaps of time to keep your mind occupied. Boredom could cause anyone to give away swimming as a form of exercise – if you allow that to happen!

I came up with a novel way of occupying my time in the pool. You see, I have joined a local singing club, which meets once a month and I try to learn a couple of new songs on my acoustic guitar for each session. I practise the songs in my head while swimming. It is an ideal way to learn the lyrics. Also, I visualise the guitar chords that go with the words, so it is quite a coordinated mental exercise! A lap usually takes me about a minute, so I can gauge how long the song would take. I can even adjust the tempo if necessary. If I make mistakes, I can repeat the exercise, thus eating away a few more laps.

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So, if I practise a couple of songs a few times in one session, I am honing my musical skills while getting my physical and mental exercise, avoiding boredom and, before I know it, my session in the pool is complete.

There would be many who have had knee problems and are seeking a suitable alternative form of exercise. Cycling is an option and certainly causes less stress on the knees than running. However, for an all-round, feel-good, stress-free body workout, it’s hard to beat swimming.

Activities such as yoga and tai chi are great for the mind, core strength and general wellbeing but I am keen on aerobic exercise and swimming gets the nod for me!

Why don’t you jump in the deep end and give swimming a go?

What’s your preferred form of exercise? Have you ‘worn out’ some joints over the years as a result?

Friday Reflection is your chance to write on any topic that stirs you. Simply send your contribution to and put Friday Reflection in the subject field. The editor will select one offering to run each week and the writer will receive a $20 gift voucher.

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Written by YourLifeChoices Writers

YourLifeChoices' team of writers specialise in content that helps Australian over-50s make better decisions about wealth, health, travel and life. It's all in the name. For 22 years, we've been helping older Australians live their best lives.

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