Swimming is a sport for all ages and abilities, it’s just about choosing the type of swimming that’s right for you. Open water swimming often requires a higher level of strength, so it may be wise to build up your strength and confidence in the lanes of an indoor pool. Swimming is a low impact exercise, but will work almost every muscle in your body without putting your joints under stress. It is an excellent all-round activity which will give a wide range of health benefits as well as being a great form of physical rehabilitation.
1. Start slow and build up
Get comfortable in the water and let go of your fear. A lot of people put off learning how to swim because they’re afraid of drowning. To start off, always go swimming with one other person who is a strong swimmer, if not several other people.
2. Work on your technique
Practice kicking your legs. Whether you’re floating on your back or still holding on to the side of the pool, you can practice kicking. (To see how far each kick can propel you, practice it using a kickboard. This allows you to focus on your kicking technique without worrying about keeping your head above water). Learn how to do a crawl. Crawls are great strokes to learn as a beginner, and they’ll move you pretty quickly.
3. Eat well
Good nutrition and a healthy diet are cornerstones of improving as a swimmer and getting the most benefit from your time in the water. There is no hard and fast rule as to how long you should leave before eating and swimming, however the old wives tale of waiting an hour is not a bad mantra to follow. It’s considered to be a good idea to eat fairly quickly after training as it’s important to replace the energy that you have expended in training within about 20 minutes or so and allow the body to start its recovery process.
4. Take time to recover
The faster, more efficiently you can recover – whether from a swimming session or from one workout to the next – the stronger your body will be. Warm down properly after swimming, ensure you eat and drink correctly, get a good amount of sleep and consider stimulating your blood flow and movement of lymph fluids by having a sports massage.