Stay in Shape With Swimming

With the arrival of fall and a return to our winter habits comes the ideal moment for switching up (or starting!) your workout routine. Rediscover the athletics behind a fun summer pastime: swimming.

Why make swimming your sport?

Swimming is a complete workout that targets every muscle group and develops high cardio as well as muscular endurance. As the body is out of its natural element and must also adapt to a foreign outside temperature, its energy expenditure while swimming is much higher than while running.

Swimming is especially beneficial because it doesn’t create any jarring impact on the joints. And it’s ideal for those wanting to build muscular and cardiovascular strength quickly without running the risk of injury. It’s a highly recommended activity for people recovering from an injury or those who carry excess weight that makes running uncomfortable for the back or knees.

Swimming is  also recommended for people with anxiety issues or stressful lifestyles, as  the swimmer must learn to relax in the water and learn to breathe deeply. As swimmers stay fully focused on floating and advancing, this frees their minds from intrusive thoughts, much like meditation does.

Tricks and tips for getting the best out of swimming

  • If you haven’t gone swimming in a while, or if you feel like you’re not improving by yourself, take one or two private classes to tidy up your technique. You’ll enjoy the sport a lot more and improve much more quickly.
  • Swim for a minimum of 20 minutes every time you go to the pool. Start by doing intervals (stop for a few seconds between each length to catch your breath). This will help you get back into it!
  • Warm up before diving in! Do five minutes of jumping jacks or burpees so that you’ll be ready when getting into the water.
  • Don’t think you’re getting any better? Count the number of times your arms cycle for one length to be completed. If that number decreases, it means your technique is improving!
  • Eat a small snack, such as a fruit or some nuts, before your swim. Avoid eating a meal at least one hour before getting into the pool.
  • Wear the right gear to stack the odds in your favour!

Getting your equipment sorted

Three things are essential for the swimmer: the swimsuit, the goggles and the swim cap. 

When selecting a swimsuit, it’s important to remember that you’re not going to the beach, nor will you be surfing. Picking a properly fitted swimsuit, and for women, one with comfortable straps and ties that keep breasts secured, is essential.

Investing in a good pair of goggles is worthwhile. You don’t want to be taking them off every few minutes. Try a few models to be sure you’re getting the best fit. Look at the size of the bridge (good models will offer different sizes) and make sure the goggles fit naturally over your eyes—you shouldn’t have to apply pressure for them to adhere to your face.

Finally, select a silicone bathing cap if you want something easy to put on that will last—and make sure it’s large enough to comfortably fit all your hair!

You’re ready to jump in at the deep end.

Written in collaboration with Greg Arkhurst

Greg Arkhurst is an Olympic swimmer who competed in the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games. He is now a trainer at the elite CAMO club, which brings the best 15- to 23-year-old national swimmers together. Greg loves swimming and it is his passion to coach his athletes and help them better themselves.