August 1, 2008

Joyce's article was written in response to news stories in Reno, Nevada about the closure of the YMCA pools and Moana Public Pool and lack of funds to build new facilities.


Community Pools Form Healthy Adults

by Joyce Delfino

Subject: Community Pools Form Healthy Adults

I completed my first triathlon last weekend (remember me, I'm 59).

It was one of the great moments of my life. I felt victorious, healthy and confident. Granted, it took me 2 hours 8 minutes and some seconds, but I did it. The swim was my biggest fear and I was almost sorry when I completed it. You see, I trained for it. Not just at Golds, Red Hawk, 24 Hour fitness, etc., but I trained for it as a child.

Watching you on the news today made me reflect on that. There was never a time as a child I wasn't running or biking. When summer hit, I went to our community pool and either took swim lessons or just floundered around in the water. I couldn't stay in the house and watch television (there was nothing on and my mother chased us out) and found my adventures outdoors. A man named Frank was my swim teacher for years. Large man that smoked cigars. He'd line us all up on the wall and make us kick. He'd throw us out in the middle of the pool and make us tread water. He'd "let" us go off the high dive on the last day of lessons. All of that built confidence, but it also trained my muscles to move.

Over the past 10 years, I lost that vision. Gained almost 80 lbs and decided to get old as the commercials portray people over 50. High blood pressure, borderline cholesterol problems, and just an unsightly mess. I joined a nutrition program (HMR) and started to exercise again. My first few jogs brought back memories of running as a child. Joined Red Hawk and took a spin class. I didn't want to stay indoors cycling, I wanted out. Bought a bike. Fell a few times, but I always had scabby knees as a child. John Gibson challenged me to train for a triathlon - Pyramid. I wasn't able to swim the length of the pool, but I knew I could. Frank taught me how. There was never a doubt I could do it, just how long it would take me. To say the least, I lost all the weight and completed my goal of a triathlon.

None of it would have been possible without the experiences I had as a child. Physical activity builds friendships, strength and confidence. Obesity is taking over our children. Where will they be without the Franks of the world? How will they learn they can do anything unless we throw them in the middle of the pool? I read an article last week that said we have all of our fat cells by the age of 23. We will not ever lose them, maybe we can shrink them, but they'll always be there. How many fat cells are our children accumulating? Will we allow that to happen because we can build another casino or hotel? Maybe another Walmart.

Swim, Bike, Run

Be a Child Again

Joyce Delfino