Swimming for fitness and health

Swimming is a fun and gentle form of all-round exercise for your body. Whatever your age or ability, it’s an ideal way of being more active and staying healthy.

Swimming is a skill for life and it could save a life one day. If you can’t yet swim, learn, get down a local pool today!

Regular swimming like most forms of exercise can help combat and reduce the risk of illnesses, like heart disease, type 2 diabetes and strokes. As a full body exercise its great for weight control but easy on the body and joints in the process.

Most sports centres have pools that will cater for a variety of abilities, such as women-only classes, parent and toddler groups, lane swimming and lessons for different ages.

Before you start

For most people, swimming is a safe way of keeping fit and having fun. Some people are afraid of the water or panic when they are out of their depth. Start out gently, beginners’ lessons focus on building your confidence in the water and understanding basic safety. Also consult your GP if you do have any other concerns Asthma.

Swimming is one of the cheaper forms of exercise your can do. Unlike other sports, you don’t needs lots of clothing and equipment, all you need is a swimming costume or swimming shorts. I would suggest a pair of goggles is a good idea to avoid the stinging caused by chlorine in pools and if you are going underwater you can see where you’re going. As with all sports clothing make sure your swimwear is comfortable and fits properly, this way you can just focus on swimming not whether your shorts are falling off in the pool! Trust me, I’ve seen it happen.

If you already have a gym memebership and your gym has a pool, you will almost certainly find that use of the pool will be including in your memebership.

The Man Outdoors Swimming

Why Swimming?

I love all forms keeping fit as you can see on The Man Outdoors site. So how does swimming fit in to my outdoor activities?

Well over the years I’ve done alot of running, cycling and walking. However, as in my previous post about Running Injures here, these sports put the human body under a great deal of strain, especially your knees. Over the last couple of years I’ve suffed with a couple of recurring knee injures, from tendon damage to inflamed bursa’s (fluid sacks around the knee joint). All of these injures have been induced by repetitive movement and high intestity from different hobbies. Running puts the knees under a lot of impack forces, cycling puts the knees under repetitive strain. Cross country or hill walking for a day with a backpack over rough ground, also puts the knees under alot of load, expecially I find, down steps or step hills.

Swimming removes all the stress on the knees and the rest of the body. As you are floating there is no weight on the body, and because water allows your to move in any direct, your body has no restrictions, so will move within it’s own limits in the direction it wants to move, placing it under less strain. Swimming is also great for your cardiovascular system, utilising all muscle groups improving circulation.

Staying motivated

As with all forms of staying fit, trying to find a routine can be hard, but here are some ideas:

Making it a habit
Consider getting an annual swimming pass, this will help you save money and encourage you to go more often. Try and find a regular time before or after work or at the weekends, that you can stick too.

Take the kids
Swimming is a great fun for the whole family and a great way to have fun together that doesn’t have to be expensive either.

Find a swim buddy
Doing any sport of hobbie with a friend really helps you to stay motivated. You’ll encourage each other when you’re not so keen to go to the pool.

Join a club
If you really get in to swimming consider joining a club. They are a great way to make new friends, improve your swimming technique and motivate you to exercise more regularly. Find a swimming club near you.

Open water swimming and triathlons
When you get more competitive there is a world of swimming opportunities beyond the pool. There are places right across the country where you can take your swimming to the next level, such as rivers, lochs, lakes and the sea. Open water swimming can be great fun, you just need ot make sure you take the necessary safety precautions. NEVER swim alone. Plan your swim, rememeber to check the water temperatures, plan entry and exit points, check currents and tides, weather conditions and water cleanliness. For the latest information on Outdoor swimming including a wild swim map, visit the Outdoor Swimming Society.

If you want to combine sports, then their are triathlons, these involve swimming, cycling and a run. These are held all over the country throughout the year and for all levels ages and abilites.

So if you are looking for a new way of staying fit, go and just in your local pool and have a splash!