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Home Is Where the Swimming Is

By , Alicia Capetillo, Staff Writer
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. 

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CHERYLHURT 1/27/2020
Great Report
MATUREONE63 1/21/2020
I too enjoy swimming. Your experience has encouraged me to keep swimming. Congratulations on your improved health. Report
MATUREONE63 1/21/2020
I too enjoy swimming. Your experience has encouraged me to keep swimming. Congratulations on your improved health. Report
CHERYLHURT 12/5/2019
Excellent Report
CECELW 10/20/2019
wow! Good for you! Report
Excellent Article! Report
I love swimming. Water aerobics is quite easy on the joints Report
Nothing is better then a nice refreshing swimming. I swim regularly and use all 4 strokes depending on my workout. Report
Swimming is awesome. Report
I started seriously swimming 3 months ago, at 48, in preparation for full knee replacement in December. I am now obsessed! I do water aerobics as well. I’ve lost 35 of 65 lbs needed before surgery. You’re never too old to find health and happiness with exercise. Report
I too enjoy swimming Report
Water is the way to go! Great job! Report
Congratulations Report
I love swimming! Report
It's always nice when we can do what we enjoy. Or learn to enjoy what we do. Report
Excellent article. Report
It was hard to be pulled away from the lake or a pool when I was young. Then I got busy with family and infrequent vacations, so rarely went. A year and a half ago, Sparkcoach told me to pick an activity I loved and incorporate it. Problem was, I didn't LIKE ANY activity. After racking my brain, I finally remembered how much I loved swimming years ago, then realized that, duh!, we have a family membership at the YMCA, and that I no longer have wee children. So now I have been swimming for about 20 months and LOVE LOVE LOVE IT. Just finished 50/100 Mile swim challenge and still going strong. Report
I love the way swimming makes me feel. I recently learned to swim a few years ago and fallen in love. I'm anxious to get back into the water. Our community pool just opened for the summer. Report
Thank you for sharing this story. There are so many reasons Lucy could have decided against this, beginning with putting on a swim suit! Learning how people overcome is what is needed in our world. Even with my students, they don't want to even try for fear of failing. I love reading stories of folks who make it happen, even when there are perceived obstacles. Keep up the great work, Lucy! Report
I never learned to swim as a child, and now I thought I was too old. But your beautiful story has inspired me to try. Report
Bought our first home recently and can't wait to start using my pool for exercise. Report
Loved every bit of this. Report
I love the water go to water fitness classes 4 to 5 times a week, love it. Report
What about your skin? Doesn't it dry out with all that chlorine in the water? Report
I am so happy for you. I do water aerobics in the Summer months, but public pools are scarce here in the Winter. Congratulations. Report
Great sight very helpful and accurate , easy to follow
I love exercising in the water. That is what I do all summer. Unfortunately, our local pool closes at 7:00 in the winter. That is about the time I would go to swim, so I don't get to do much in the winter You are such an inspiration. Keep up the great work! Report
I do the same thing I couldn't get down on the floor because of my back so I started water fitness now I swim four days a week at least 120 laps in 25 meter pool most of the time it is a actual 2 miles 2 to 3 days a week Keep it up you doing wonderful Report

What an inspiring story. I checked your SP and you are totally amazing. OK. I admit it. Right here. I'm sooooooo jealous. You met Richard Simmons. Love him. What fun that had to be.

Thanks for sharing your story. I just know I can do it too. I love to water walk. I'm not a swimmer. I honestly don't know how to 'swim' but I 'float!' Love water exercises. What a workout. Report
It is so good to find an exercise that suits our own body's needs and limitations and is enjoyable, too. Exercise is really important to keep us healthy and happy.
Lucy is an inspiration! Report
What an inspiration!! Way to go!!!! Report
What an inspiration!! Way to go!!!! Report
Ha! I saw the title of this article and thought SparkPeople had started using one of those programs where it inserts your name. My name is Lucy, and I have a pool, but I only get in it about once a month. I do water aerobics, but I don't know how to swim. I've decided to get someone to teach me so I can learn to love the water, too. I want to swim every single morning before I start the day. I live in Hawaii so I can do that. Thanks for a big laugh, and a big push! Report
You are an inspiration, Lucy! (CRAZYMAMA46)
Way to go!
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