feelgood factor

"Every morning I swim half a mile. It cheers me up no end. About four years ago me and my husband decided to be terribly self-indulgent and put a pool in our house. I got sick and tired of the idea of everyone else's pee in the water I was swimming in. I gotaquatorial.

I'm usually in the water by 6.30am. I do a peculiar sort of sidestroke and occasionally the backstroke. I'm not a hard swimmer or fast swimmer, in fact I'm quite slow. But what's important is finding your own rhythm and breathing properly.

If you swim, you don't have the horrible feeling of sweat dripping down your back - exercise is as much about something that is good for your mental image of yourself as working on your body. I come out of the pool feeling clean and whole.

The real joy of having my own pool is that I can swim in the nude. It's a very sexual experience and, of course, swimminguses all the muscle groups and burns calories at a steady rate. This idea that you have to suffer when you exercise is anything but healthy. I suspect that after 'going for the burn', osteopaths in 20 years will be making a fortune.

All in all, I do 10 lengths. I'm in and out of the water in 37 and a half minutes precisely. Then I have a shower ... the day has started."

Interview by Nick Walker

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