• Diann Schindler, Ph.D.

I’m an over-doer.  I DO, to a fault!


All my life, I have played sports and exercised: basketball, baseball, running, Zumba, swimming, volleyball, tennis, and lots more. In the last 10 years, it has been mostly tennis. I was playing at least daily.

When I started travelling in January 2015, the tennis really slowed down. I didn’t have access to tennis courts.

When I had my retina tears in 2017, lots came to screeching halt. That’s right, no tennis, no lifting, no bending over…nothing that would stretch the retina. It seemed like everything might affect my vision.

My physical activity was limited to walking…and even that was a challenge, given the loss of eye sight in the left eye. I had loss of depth perception and really needed just the right light…not too bright and certainly not dark…to see well enough to maneuver the uneven pavements in Europe and Southeast Asia.

My vision has improved and it appears my retina problem just might be over. Meanwhile, during very long year, I had turned into a slug. I felt like a beached whale. I was tired, uncomfortable in my clothes, and embarrassed about my appearance.

This January, when I returned to Chiang Mai, Thailand, I was free from any physical restrictions. It was time to get back into shape.

I found an apartment with a pool large enough to swim laps…about a quarter of the size of an Olympic size pool. I started a strict diet. I used my favorite app,

Lose It!, to record my food intake and exercise. I bought a bathing suit, cap, goggles, a swimming board, and my friend, Sherry, gave me ear plugs.

This first effort was an overwhelming failure, but it didn’t stop me. Well, truth is I stopped the laps for a few minutes, but I jumped up and down, I held on the side and kicked, I used my kick board for more laps.

The next few mornings, my tight muscles were sweet motivation.

Every day, when I arrived at the pool, a man was already swimming laps. He was so fast, the water sloshed the entire length and width of the pool.

I swam, did my little exercises, and left. But this guy was still swimming. He was a motorboat!

I thought, “Man, I wanna do that! I’m gonna do that!”

Every day, I saw Mr. Motorboat doing his laps. Every day, I swam. I extended my time from a meager 15 minutes to 30! Every day, when I left, this guy was still swimming. (That's Mr. Motorboat with me on his lap. Eddie from Hawaii, Mr. Motorboat.)

Yes, my muscles told me I was working them. You know, that good ache. “It hurts so good.”

Now, I was pumped!

No more talking myself into getting to the pool. I couldn’t wait to get at my daily resolve. No more slowly easing into the water to adjust to the temperature. Nope, not for this gal! I simply dove in!

I bought some huge fins that looked like they were for very serious deep-sea, spear fishing. I cut them down so rather than 12 inches of fin, it was about 3 inches. I made Zoomers! These are so great for building leg muscles.

Those Zoomers made me fly…legs and arms attacking that water. Granted, I wasn’t a motor boat. Maybe, I was a row boat or a leisurely canoe. No matter. It was all good!

Gradually, after a week with my Zoomers, I had trouble getting out bed in the morning. My legs, neck, shoulders, back were incredibly tight.

I loved it. This was proof! I was getting me back into shape. I could actually see, when I faced the mirror just right, a slight definition in my shoulders, especially my legs.

The increased tightness was easy to address. I stretched before and after swimming.

I laughed, and I kept up my daily routine. Well, at least I kept it up until it hurt to laugh. It’s true My stomach and shoulders hurt when I laughed. PLUS, crawling into bed was agony. I groaned. And, turning over during the night was torment.

Alright…alright! I had to face reality. I cut back from daily to every other day for a few days.

Honestly, that didn’t help much. I was shocked. What to do?

I left my Zoomers in my apartment. But I extended my free style to 18 laps at first, kick boarding, side kicking, and walking high steps in deep water with my arms over my head, and maybe 10 more laps.

Truth is, aches and tenderness are my daily companions.

You know when you prepare yourself for painful strain when you bend down to put your shoes on, reach for the tooth brush, or pull your T-shirt over your head, you have seriously over done it.

Swear words!

And, it’s my weakness: I over do.

Ok…ok… New plan! I’m cutting back: every third day and without my sweet Zoomers…at least until I stop hurting.

That also means, I must cut back on my caloric intake. That means, no more Singha, my one, daily beer.

Lordy, this is indeed sacrifice.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

#ChiangMai #healthy #Thailand

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