Thursday, September 25, 2014


Ankle rehab is dead boring. But necessary. Here's the set of exercises I've been using. 

So instead of running, I've been doing a lot of swimming. 

Luckily, Singapore has fantastic public pools. I realise I'm totally spoilt by the abundance of pools, the cost, the size... $1 on a weekday and $1.30 on a weekend gets you unlimited time in an Olympic-distance, lane-marked, 50m pool with sections marked off for lap swim. Most public pools are open 8am-9pm, with some open at 6am for the folks who want to get a workout in earlier. 

And this fabulous new aquatic centre just opened. (It has a competition pool too, but that's often closed to the public because of, well, competitions.) This is the training pool - $2 gets you in. Best of all? Warm water in the showers. Can you tell swimming is huge in Singapore?   

Photo from Sport Singapore. 

(By the way: Local hometown swimming hero Joseph Schooling also just won a gold and set a games record in the 100m butterfly at the Asian Games. Well done!! Can you believe the kid is just 19?) 
Photo via Jose Raymond. OMG to be his parents and watch all of those races. I would be having constant heart attacks. 

The chain of gyms that I go to has some pools here and there but they are clearly not made for people who actually, you know, swim. For instance, odd distances: one is 25m long so I feel like the aquatic equivalent of a hamster on a wheel (yes yes, I am a spoilt brat - but I'll never take a 50m outdoor pool for granted again). One is 30m long (the distance was not marked; I had to count strokes and estimate). And the one covered pool usable in a thunderstorm is 40m (I ask you: in what tropical country do you require a heated pool?)  

What about pool running, you ask? That just requires more gear, and as someone who has to move continents in a few months, more Stuff is the exact opposite of what I want right now! 

Some waterlogged thoughts: 
- I constantly forget what lap I'm on. Need a better system than my memory or moving my water bottle from one tile to another. (I often count down from 50, for instance.) 
- Most people in the lap-swim lane are pretty good about not swimming in the middle of the lane. 
- Not everyone fully understands the concept of circle swim, which on busy Saturday mornings is CRUCIAL.

As the ankle gets stronger I've been tooling around the neighbourhood or on the treadmill at a super easy pace for 25 or 30 minutes at a time. No pain but I can't say everything feels totally *stable* yet. Like if I put a foot wrong the ankle will just go over again. Time for a dose of patience. 


  1. Awesome you have access to so many (cheap!) pools! That is wonderful. When I would attempt to swim in China, I often had to share a lane with about a dozen other people if I went to a big pool and they were going in all different directions. Sometimes I went to a smaller (expensive) hotel pool which I could have to myself but it was cold as anything and not very appealing to go in the winter :)
    Keep on being patient with the ankle! I am sure it will get there soon. How is walking?

    1. Oh yes, there is always the usual complement of senior citizens floating up and down (and sometimes width-ways ACROSS) the pool zigzagging slightly, and on weekends you have multiple swim classes' worth of little kids all going back and forth at the same time, but our public pools are very good at demarcating with lane ropes: HERE is the paddling section. HERE is the lap swim section. HERE is the swimming-lesson space. It's swimmers' paradise.

      I can definitely walk just fine - it's nowhere nearly as bad as the major sprain I had when I was 18. No pain, just a little wobbly.

  2. You would hate my pool. It's only 20 yards (18.3 m). I used it find it comforting when I first started swimming, but now that I've gotten a little better, it's definitely too short.

    I'm horrible at counting laps. Sometimes I use pennies in sets of 5.

    1. Pennies are a good idea. But, a random factoid: the Singapore mint stopped minting one-cent coins a few years ago. I'd have to vacuum my childhood bedroom and look under my parents' sofa to find enough pennies. ;) I've actually taken to using hair ties on my waterbottle - one every ten laps.

  3. I can understand how hard it is to count laps. Seems like it should be an easy task for an intelligent, educated woman but the mind drifts mid-lap and even if you're chanting six, six, six subliminally you get to the end and think was the six for the one I've just done or the one I'm going to do?

    My only thought is to get a waterproof watch and go by time.

  4. Those are cheap pools for sure!

  5. Ugh...swimming, I hate it. But you're doing well to keep going. I twisted my ankle several times last year so keep doing those exercises and get well xx

  6. Also, excuse the self-promotion but I did two blog posts on PT exercises for ankles in case that helps.

  7. How on earth do you count metres using strokes? How many metres do you estimate a stroke to be?

    Hope the ankle is better soon! <3

    1. Thanks! The ankle is much better - I went for a trundle today. As for figuring out pool length - take stroke count for a known pool length (eg roughly 50 strokes to get across a 50-metre pool) and apply to mystery pool length :)

  8. Try using rubber bands to keep track of your lap. Take 10 rubber band (The regular red colour ones) and tie them on your left wrist. For every 2 laps, transfer one to your right hand. When you have finish transferring from one hand to the other, you know you have completed 20 laps!