Have you been itching to get back in the water after years of dry feet? Are you new to swimming and just don’t know where to start? Have you signed up for a triathlon and need to get back into the pool for those fun squad sessions?
The most incredible thing about swimming is that it is for every walk of life. It doesn’t matter what you look like, how old you are, how fit you are, or how big you are, swimming covers everyone’s wants and needs. Regardless of your ability, technique or experience, everyone can swim. Swimming is a low impact, aerobic exercise that everyone benefits from.
Element Swimming’s Head Coach, Ben Geard, has given us a few helpful tips below on how to get back into the pool and incorporate swimming into you fitness routine.
- Grab some gear. It may sound a little silly, but before you get ready to take your first dive, ensure you have the correct equipment to help you along. Ideally you will have swimwear that fits correctly so you aren’t needing to pull everything back into place after your first dive. Once you have that covered, invest in some goggles and a swim cap (especially for those with lots of hair). Then you have the option of handy equipment for your swim that can help mix your laps up a bit, such as fins, a kick board and a pull-buoy.
- Start slow. If you haven’t been swimming for a while, be sure to start out slow and steady. Swim fitness is easy to gain, but also easy to lose. If it’s been a good chunk of time since your last swim, be sure you take it easy so you don’t scare yourself out of your next swim before you’re even out of the pool the first time round. Start off by swimming some easy laps with plenty of rest in between. Don’t forget about your fins, kickboard and pull-buoy. These will help give you a bit of variety throughout each swim while working on different parts of your body. Don’t forget about breaststroke, backstroke and the all-time favourite butterfly to keep things interesting.
- Build your routine. Don’t overdo it by setting your expectations of swim training for every day of the week. Start with just once or twice times a week, and if you feel you need more, then gradually add the extra days in over time.
- Set realistic goals. Don’t discourage yourself by setting unrealistic goals. There are plenty of different targets to set in swimming that don’t just include how fast you can go. Think about mastering your technique and efficiency, or how many laps you can do without taking a break. Make sure you avoid increasing your weekly distance by more than 10%. This will not only give you a good indication of your improvement, but it will also help avoid injury.
- Join a Squad. Now this is what makes swimming fun and social. Find a swim pool with a great coach, fun group of like-minded people and times that suit your schedule. This can truly help with your motivation and personal accountability. This is a great way to further improve your technique, fitness and meet some new people.
Don’t forget to stretch and release. Before and after each session make sure you prioritise stretching, and be sure to do regular releases in between your sessions. This is great recovery and will help in preventing you getting tight, especially in the neck, shoulders and back.