For the past few years, I have been trying to find ways to work around my physical limitations and develop some kind of excercise routine. Since Cura came home, I had kind of given up actively pursuing anything. There were a few reasons, not the least of which was that after a few weeks of adopting Cura I was invovled in a car accident that further restricted my activities for several months. But, finally, about a month ago, I had reached a point where I was ready to try, once again to develop an excersize routine that worked for me.
Since many of the things that I had either considered or actually tried in the past were either unrealistic or ended up putting too much stress on my body, I decided to try swimming. It is a good aerobic excercise that also provides resistance to help develop and tone muscles. On top of that, I could also participate in water resistance excercise classes. Maybe in the future, as I get in better shape, I can try to do some basic, beginners yoga or tai chi -- something that will help me to increase my strength and flexibility a bit and keep things from getting tight and restricted.
But, in order to include swimming in my life, I needed to introduce Cura to a new experience. More often than not, she is within a few feet of me -- even when I am home and she is relaxing. At the very most she is upstairs when I am down or she is in the front of a classroom while I am wandering among students. If I was going to start swimming, she was going to need to lay calmly by the pool while I swam laps in the pool. Since the pool was in a gym, she was going to have to resist any urge that she had to go for a swim herself and she was going to need to learn to come to me when I called -- but not by going through the water. She needed to know that she had to go around the pool rather than take the shortest route to me.
So, a new mission for Cura, myself, and the trainers. We have been going swimming fairly regularly now for a few weeks and things are going quite well. Cura has even gotten so used to the routine that one time she got up and started in the direction of the woman's locker room/sauna/steam room/jacuzzi (they are all in the same direction) after 20 minutes. Up until that point, I had limited my swim time to 20 minutes -- I guess she figured it was time for us to be done! She came back promptly when I called her, but it made me realize that as I extend my swimming time, I am going to have to reiterate the stay after about 20 minutes -- at least for a bit.
I find this development quite interesting. You see, Cura has been trained to hold her stay indefinitley if I am in the room with her -- but if I am out of sight, she is expected to break her stay after about 10-15 minutes and come find me (a safeguard in the event I need her help but was not able to call for her). So, I think Cura might have lost track of me in the water and decided that she needed to go find me! Not an altogether bad thing -- but it means that I need to 'check in' with her every once in awhile so she knows I am still in the pool and that she should stay put!
All in all, the experience has been a good one and my stamina in the water is slowly improving. We still have the occassional training session at the gym -- making sure that Cura can perform a recovery series in the different environment and that she is on the ball with all she needs to know. But, for the most part, she has settled in and is taking the gym in stride.