Exercise is well known for it’s positive effect on mental health, the act of physical movement boosting endorphins and all that. Swimming is absolutely my favourite exercise; especially if it can be outdoors, combining my love of nature with exercise.
I went for a swim in the sea for the first time in years a little while ago and honestly, the feeling…the feeling. It was so exciting. I squealed so much I was nervous that someone might think I needed rescuing.
There’s something about not knowing what’s underneath you that is both nerve wracking and intriguing, or how deep you are in the water; all this mystery sparks the imagination and makes you feel so alive. And child like. I found it so reassuring then as I do now that that feeling of when you first go in the sea as a child doesn’t actually leave you.
The feeling of water all around you, enveloping you, somehow seems comforting to me. Maybe it’s to do with a womb-like sensation, of being held, protected before we entered the world. Sea swimming naturally makes me think of tides and the moons effect on them, and then the natural effect on us when we are a large percentage of water.
I read this wonderful book a few years ago, Waterlog by Roger Deakin, a classic, which to me ought to be available on prescription; it’s a heartwarming, passionate account of swimming a variety of Britain’s waterways, written by a gentleman.
It was lovely to read lately that Deakin’s routes had been revisited by a writer, Joe Minihane in a bid to confront his own health issues of depression and anxiety, and that his journey, after writing a book, Floating: A Life Regained, chronicling the journey, has subsequently been made into a beautiful film.