Author: Kelli Zappert

Swimming Instructor, Seattle Athletic Club Downtown

Don’t take water (and water safety) for granted.

After many years of being a lifeguard at a near by lake it still surprises me of how many people take water for granted. As much fun as it is playing in and out of the water we must respect the ramifications as to the dangers it can impose. Did you know it only takes a teaspoon of water to drown?

Here is the account of one of many near drowning experiences that I have encountered in my career as a lifeguard.

My first day, hour, 15 minutes of being on the lifeguard stand at the lake I watched a mother place her toddler with her 3 year old sister in the water at the shore. Then the mother walked about 10 feet away from both children sat down facing the water but put a magazine in front of her face. This happened just after I made the announcement “all children 6 years of age and younger must have a parent within arms reach at all times”. Within only a couple of minutes the toddler tipped over, she tried to push herself up and drifted out further. I jumped off of the lifeguard chair and had the baby in my arms. The mother was still reading her magazine. She didn’t look up until I was calling her and the toddler started to cry. As I told the mother I tell all of you stay within arms reach at all times. This could have ended much differently in a couple of ways; I could have walked away with the toddler or she could have easily drowned. Either way it could have been a tragedy. Please don’t let this be you.

Lifeguarded swim areas are a great place to spend time. However; it is not a place to use free baby sitters. They have a lot to watch in order to keep you and your family safe.

For information on learning to swim, or improving your swimming, please contact Aquatics Instructor Kelli Zappert.

It’s sunny and warm, but beware of swimming in cold waters

We have had so many months of either working out inside or some people braving the rain, snow and wind to get a workout in outdoors. As soon as the sun comes out we all flock outside – looking for some vitamin D. Warmer weather means more beach time, but keep in mind the water is not nearly as warm as we may think it is. Just because we have had sun for a few days, it doesn’t heat Puget Sound and the many lakes and rivers around here rapidly.

Water temperatures range from 44 ° – 46 ° F in the winter to 54 ° – 56 ° in Spring and Summer months. The human body’s temperature run between 97 ° – 99 ° – which is a huge difference from the water temperature. Keep this in mind when you head out for your Spring and Summer activities. It only takes 1 – 4 hours of being in the water for hypothermia to affect your body. The time it takes for hypothermia to affect you depends on a few things, such as body fat the amount and type of clothing you are wearing. If you are moving you seem to keep warmer but once you stop all the heat quickly dissipates.

Children get chilled much more quickly than adults. Watch for chattering teeth and lips this is sign of being too cold. After that the lips turn from pink to purple this means get out and get warm. Typically one should think of getting out before the lips are purple.

Don’t forget the sunscreen!

Take Your Exercise from the Pool to the Slopes

Water Aerobics is not just exercise… it’s making friends too. I had the pleasure of going Cross Country skiing for the first time with 3 of the water aerobics participants on March 9th. We went to the Cabin Creek area it was a beautiful sunny day on the other side of Snoqualmie pass. Cindy Shurtleff, Paul and Jean Henderson made the trip a blast. Once we had a boot repair done (duct tape is great for everything) we were off. I fell a few times and as I discovered later, came out with various bruises to prove it. As I say “No blood, no foul! Get up and stride it off”.

A few things learned by the group:

  1. Don’t roll your ankle out, that’s how you catch an edge and then it is all over, your body meets the hard pack snow.
  2. Cindy is an awesome teacher, thanks Cindy!
  3. Paul and Jean dealt with a minor boot malfunction quite well. Paul must have been a boy scout he was well prepared for anything.

My water aerobics class is planning another outing, my first time snow shoeing hopefully soon.

Water Aerobics… Great Workout – Less Impact

How do you get a great workout with less impact on your joints and muscles? Water Aerobics is what it sounds like, Aerobics in the water. You can make it a hard workout or an easy workout just like with any other workout. If you cycle and need to take it easy on a day you simply pedal a little easier with lighter tension or if you want a more intense workout increase the tension and pedal harder/faster. Water Aerobics is similar in the way you push yourself. Did you have a hard weight bearing workout the day before then you can make water aerobics a bit easier by moving a little slower with more stretching movements. If you feel you need to work harder then work harder, move faster and utilize the resistance of the water for a more intense workout. Another important part of water aerobics is the enthusiasm of the instructor. If your instructor is moving slow with little energy typically the people in class follow suite. For myself if I am feeling low on energy I say to myself “Don’t let your students down. They are here for a workout. Show them what you’re made of, don’t be a slacker!” After the workout is over my energy level has risen and I feel great. My students tell me “that was great!” People that are new to this type of exercise are often surprised at how hard they worked out. “I didn’t expect this to be so intense”. So, come in on Tuesday and Thursday from 8:30 – 9:30 give it a try, you just might surprise yourself.