Leanne Bird discusses the benefits of staying active with swimming
The nights have started drawing in and you may start finding excuses why you ‘can’t’ go out for that walk, run or bike ride. So what do you do? You could sit inside and start getting ready for the winter, or you try your hand at swimming? Here are 5 reasons to give it a go….
IT’S AN ALL WEATHER SPORT
Come rain or shine, it doesn’t matter what the weather is, you can get into that swimming pool. So in autumn, you can escape the elements at your local swimming pool.
IT WORKS YOUR WHOLE BODY
Swimming is a great whole body workout – working your upper and lower body, as well as your core, particularly when undertaking a variety of strokes in your session. A fantastic exercise for the heart and lungs, increasing your fitness and reducing blood pressure and your risk of Type II diabetes, stroke and cardiovascular heart disease.
DO IT ALONE OR AS PART OF A TEAM
Swimming is a great sport for anyone who likes or could do with time to yourself. Counting lengths or even strokes can be meditating and being in the water with your ears covered can help to connect you with yourself, reducing your stress levels. Most clubs cater for a variety of abilities/fitness levels and there are sessions that focus on swimming as a group fitness rather than racing, enabling you to benefit from the motivation and friendships that come from being part of a team.
IT HAS LESS IMPACT ON YOUR JOINTS
As it is not a weight bearing exercise, swimming is much less likely to result in injuries to your ankles, knees and hips unlike other forms of exercise, particularly if you are overweight/obese or already suffer issues. It is important however to remember that some form of weight bearing exercise is important for reducing the risk of osteoporosis. Combining swimming with walking or cycling is a great combination. Furthermore, if you suffer from issues relating to your neck or spine, water aerobics may be preferable over swimming or sticking to backstroke to reduce stress to the neck
IT’S GREAT WAY TO LOSE WEIGHT
Swimming is a brilliant endurance exercise that, as long as you work yourself to a point where you are out of breath, for at least 20 minutes, is great for fat loss. Add in a few sets of intervals (sets of sprints followed by rest), and you’ll also increase the amount of calories you burn post exercise! So whether you once were in to swimming and lost the habit or it’s something you haven’t really tried as a form of exercise then get yourself to your local pool.
Can’t swim? Many pools offer adult swim lessons to help you learn or just give yourself some confidence.
Need a challenge to get you motivated? Then you could always sign up for the Aspire Swim Challenge – 22 miles in 12 weeks – the equivalent of the English Channel So what are you waiting for? Get your local pools timetable and plan your next swim. Or maybe even join an outdoor swim club and get the added benefits of being in nature.
For more healthy lifestyle tips visit www.exercisyourfreedom.com/fit-tips.
Leanne Bird, Founder of BirdSol Fitness