Swimming offers an effective low-impact workout, and it adds a new activity to spice up a boring routine. If you’ve been thinking about adding swimming to your workouts, use these tips to get started.
Don't Overdo It On Gear
All you need to start swimming is a training swimsuit and goggles. Most people also prefer to wear a swim cap to keep hair dry and away from your face. A waterproof watch can be helpful, but isn’t absolutely necessary if there is a clock at the pool to help you track your exercise time.
Start with the Basics
Begin by identifying your goals. Do you want to simply include swimming as another form of exercise, or do you have a long-term goal of competing in a triathlon? Once you know what you’d like to accomplish, get yourself familiar with the pool.
Consider taking an aquatics class or grabbing a kickboard to do simple laps when you start out. Give yourself time to get acquainted with how it feels to exercise in the water and to learn what your fitness level will allow. When you are ready to start swimming laps, the standard freestyle stroke is the best place to start. From there, you can determine if swimming freestyle for 30 minutes a few times a week is what you need to reach your goals, or if you’ll need to become familiar with other strokes, speeds, and distances to compete in an event.
Find a Convenient Pool Time
If you aren’t comfortable with being in a crowded pool, plan to visit at different times throughout the day to find one that is less busy. Most recreation centers and gyms have free swim times when the pool is not being used for lessons or classes. Experiment with completing your swim workouts early in the morning, taking a late lunch break, or later in the evening when group classes have ended.
Seek Out Basic Instruction
There are several things you will need to master to swim efficiently. Breathing with water coming at your face and creating a rhythm with your breathing can be difficult. Be patient with yourself and take breaks as you need them. You can practice strokes and kicks on dry land before you hit the water to ensure you understand proper form. If you are completely new to swimming, seek out a beginner class at your local recreation center, or hire a swim coach to learn the basics and assess your performance in the water. Often just a session or two can help you get the hang of things, and then you can return to solo workouts to apply what you learned.