Growing up, I was never very involved in sports, choosing to throw my energies into music instead.  But here in Africa, I’ve taken up both swimming and Taekwondo.  Regular practice of these athletics reduces the stress I feel and improves my sleep, in addition to the other benefits of physical exercise that are touted by researchers.

Swimming is very convenient for me, because immediately outside the office where I work is the water reserve for the hospital in the form of a well-maintained 25-meter lap pool.  Two or three afternoons a week, I swim five laps before heading home.  While I strive to improve my stroke and my speed, I feel refreshed in the cool water after a day in the African heat.

My Taekwondo class is on Thursday afternoons on the other side of town, taught by an American friend whose husband serves here as a pilot.  There are currently two other students in the class, both also American women.  We spend our hour together stretching, punching, kicking, and practicing self-defense moves, chatting about our week in the process.  I currently have an orange belt, with the goal of working up to a black belt (which my teacher has) by the time I’m fifty years old!

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