Grumpy? Go jump in the lake – science proves it makes us feel better

Wallace J. Nichols, author of “Blue Mind,” gives away blue marbles to remind people of the importance of water. ERICH SCHLEGEL for American-Statesman

I love the water.

It’s a joke in my home. When I first got married, my husband talked me into skipping swim practice one morning so I could go run errands with him. I grudgingly agreed, then promptly grouched around the rest of the day.

That only happened once. “If Pam doesn’t swim, nobody’s happy,” Chris says now.

RELATED: Two Austin swimming holes make New York Times’ list of best places to swim.

Wallace J. Nichols, author of “Blue Mind,” takes a yoga class on a standup paddleboard at Lake Austin Spa. ERICH SCHLEGEL for American-Statesman

It’s true. Jumping into Barton Springs, hitting swim practice, diving into Lake Austin or skinny dipping in the ocean just before midnight (yes, that happened last week in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi) washes away stress and makes me feel like Mother Nature is cradling me in her arms. Plus, it keeps me fit.

Last week, I headed to Lake Austin Spa Resort to meet Wallace J. Nichols, author of “Blue Mind,” a book that explains, in scientific terms, all the reasons why getting in, on or near the water make us feel better. Nichols grew up spending lots of time in the water surfing, swimming and canoeing, and it’s become his mission to encourage others to jump in, too.

Pam LeBlanc, left, and Wallace Nichols, ride standup paddleboards on Lake Austin. ERICH SCHLEGEL for American-Statesman

The resort has adopted a whole menu of water-related activities and programs based on Nichols’ “Blue Mind” approach, from bootcamp in kayaks to meditation sessions on a dock to yoga classes on standup paddleboards.

RELATED: Tired of crowds? Try these less trendy pools, parks and trail. 

I joined Nichols for a swim and some fun on the lake – and for some longer conversations about water. When I said goodbye, he gave me a blue marble, and tasked me with handing that along to someone else, to remind them that water makes everything better.

Read my Fit City column next week to learn more about Nichols’, his book, and Lake Austin Spa Resort’s watery activities.

Author: Pam LeBlanc

Pam LeBlanc writes about fitness and travel for the Austin American-Statesman. She has worked for the Statesman since 1998 and written her weekly fitness column, Fit City, since 2004.

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