When a back injury prompted her to head to the gym at age 40, it took Lucy Parsons (CRAZYMAMA46) 20 minutes to get from the car to the front door at her local YMCA. At more than 400 pounds, Parsons had been struggling with a sciatic nerve issue that caused a loss of feeling and movement in her left leg. Back surgery and feelings of depression and anger followed, leaving her feeling like she didn't have any options.
"I almost was at the point of giving up when I had a very heart- and head-opening experience that gave me the strength to fight," Parsons said. "I still use that experience every day to fuel my fight."
That fight started in the water. Swimming, which requires a huge range of muscles to be used all at once, appealed to Parsons and allowed her to start very slowly due to its low-impact nature. After getting comfortable simply walking in the pool, she fell in love with a newfound freedom to be able to move and soon advanced to water aerobics, which she participated in for over a year. From there, she was asked to teach classes.
"Becoming an instructor meant becoming a certified lifeguard," Parsons said. "In the course, I had to swim a mile in every class. I decided to learn how to swim, [which effectively] cemented my love for water."
For Parsons, now 53, the solitude of the water coupled with the knowledge that she is getting a full-body calorie burn keeps her coming back to take a dip. She splits her time between swimming, water jogging and doing water fitness workouts, challenging herself to push just a little more each session. Whether it’s an extra 20 minutes doing laps, perfecting a new stroke or working on a more difficult fitness move, Parsons is committed to constantly bettering herself.
"No matter how much I do, I always feel so much better after I work out."
Today, Parsons is down to 185 pounds, swims at least three days a week and credits the water for getting her through everything from illnesses to complete knee replacements. "I have been through so many health issues, but the water has always been my way back," she said. "The water is a perfect place for people of different fitness levels to work out together and enjoy the fun of water."
On the successful journey to healthy living, exercise has a way of becoming a part of you. Home Is Where the Workout Is is a series featuring members like you who achieved their goals by getting hooked on exercise. Discover what can happen when people struggling with weight loss find their passion and change their lives.