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Learning to Swim as an Adult Feels Like Returning to Familiar Waters



As I got older, the years of neglecting my body started to catch up with me. Old injuries that I had ignored, as well as family joint issues, arthritis, and back pain, all began to take a toll. On my 48th birthday, I decided to make a change and joined a gym to take better care of myself. However, on my first day at the gym, I pushed myself too hard on the treadmill and ended up tearing my meniscus. As a middle-aged trans man who had been at odds with my body for years, I found it difficult to listen to my body’s signals, as I had been ignoring them for so long. I was out of shape, in constant pain, and struggling to keep up with daily activities.

My doctor recommended swimming as a form of exercise. Initially, I was hesitant due to my scars from surgery and feeling self-conscious about being in a swimsuit. However, as I continued to suffer from pain and depression, I realized that I needed to make a change for my health and well-being. One day, I mustered the courage to go to the pool and try swimming. Despite my insecurities, I started with a slow 250 meters of breaststroke and gradually increased my distance each week. With the support of my friends and a determination to improve my health, I continued to push myself to swim regularly.

Over time, I found that swimming not only helped alleviate my physical pain but also improved my mental health. The repetitive motion of swimming, coupled with the soothing hot tub afterwards, provided relief for my aching joints and muscles. As I continued to swim, I began to notice improvements in my strength, endurance, and overall well-being. Despite my initial fears and reservations, I found solace in the water and a sense of accomplishment in pushing past my limitations.

Through regular swimming sessions, I was able to rebuild my body’s strength and resilience. The slow and steady progress I made in the pool translated to improvements in my daily life outside of the water. I no longer felt limited by my physical pain and was able to engage more fully in activities with my family and work responsibilities. Swimming became a source of empowerment for me, allowing me to reconnect with my body and prioritize my health in a way I had neglected for years.

In conclusion, swimming as a form of exercise transformed my relationship with my body and helped me overcome years of neglect and pain. By taking small steps each day to swim and push myself, I was able to rebuild my strength and improve my overall well-being. The support of friends and the sense of accomplishment I felt in the water motivated me to continue on my journey towards better health. Although it was a challenging and sometimes uncomfortable process, swimming ultimately became a source of healing and empowerment for me as a middle-aged trans man.

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