This guest post is from Don Walsh, our instructor for the 2018 Open Water Swim Clinic. Keep reading to see how profound his love of the water is, what it means to him and why you don’t want to miss his invaluable training at the OWSC.
I have a greater love of the ocean than anyone you’ll ever meet. I have been swimming most of my life. We are born swimming, in a way. The womb is a watery environment, so our first day of life is also our first day on dry land.
I have always been fascinated with the open sea. Swimming is an amazing way to get exercise and extend your life, but it’s so much more than that. Swimming in the open water is an adventure. The wind, waves, and currents offer a challenge that a pool never will. When I swim, I feel connected, body and mind, in a world of weightlessness. There is nothing more exhilarating or freeing than that.
Swimming for Life and Health
Water offers the best way to exercise. It offers resistance and keeps us afloat at the same time. Because of this, swimming offers all the benefits of a vigorous workout without impacting your body as much. It softens the strain on the joints and back muscles, making it possible to get an intense workout without the negative effects of such a workout.
Studies have shown that swimming creates longer life expectancy than both walking and running, and there is a significant gap between swimming and the other forms of exercise. It is, by and far, the best way to improve health.
Swimming offers all the benefits of an intense cardiovascular workout without straining your body. However, it’s not enough to just jump in the water and start going. Swimming with focus is actually the best way to reap all the benefits water has to offer. According to the studies, swimming for an hour a day while maintaining the proper form and speed has the most health benefits.
Swimming Can Teach Us to Balance Body and Mind
Open water is an invitation for self-connection. I have accepted that invitation every time it came calling. I served sea and country in my work as a Navy Seal, and nothing has ever brought me more opportunity or more loss than the open water.
The sea may be a cruel mistress, but I would have no other. She gives as much as she takes, and I hang suspended in that perfect balance between giving and take: treading water through the years.
People often misunderstand what treading water means. It has become synonymous with just getting by, but it’s more than that. Treading water is the art of staying upright and moving forward, even when your energy wanes and deep waters surround you. It requires a perfect balance of movement and mind.
There is No Greater Adventure than the Open Water
Deep waters are both frightening and invigorating. An entire expanse of life exists beneath that undulating surface. There is no greater adventure than the open water, and you’ll never find a better view of the horizon either. It is filled to the brim with life and history. From the sunken treasure ships of a past long gone to the mysterious creatures, we have yet to discover: our oceans are full of mystery.
But, perhaps the greatest adventure the water can bring us is the opportunity to find out what we’re made of. I have trained in open water most of my life. It requires diligence, but it also requires courage. The ocean is powerful, and that power becomes increasingly apparent the farther you travel from the shore.
When you turn your eye towards that horizon, how far will you make it before you turn round and head back to solid land again? Do you have what it takes to tread water in the deeps?
There is only one way to find out: embrace the adventure and head for open waters.
About Elemental Edge Training
Founded by former Navy SEAL Bill Atkinson, Elemental Edge Training offers highly organized, fast-paced half, full and three day workshops that enhance your ability to lead, follow, communicate and participate as an individual and on a team. Lectures, discussions and practicals, and a rapid fire “Plan-brief-execute-debrief” format hammer home why you’re here and what you must change to improve your personal and professional life. We also teach you a Navy SEAL mindset approach that’s a game changer for you and your team and includes direct and immediate feedback, along with “report card” to take home round out the experience, give pause for reflection, and inspire further change.