I don’t really like gyms or the classes they offer. I don’t have very much co-ordination and found many aerobics classes hard. The class would go left and I would be going right! I don’t think I am cut out for them. I’d much rather go for a power walk and breathe in fresh air or swim.
I was a good swimmer at school and achieved all of my certificates, but then I didn’t go for about 15 years. I was gaining weight and needed a solution. So I thought about swimming. Once I got past how awful I looked in a swimsuit…which didn’t take long because I put my ‘I don’t give a crap how I look, I’m here to exercise’ hat on…I was ready to go.
So I have been swimming for nearly a year now. I have noticed such a difference. I have toned and am much fitter. I had to start slow as I hadn’t swum for so long. So I started off with just a front crawl and did that for many weeks until I got used to the water again. Then I slowly built up my strength and tried all of the other methods. I can now do them all and do a 30 minute swim without stopping. I have learned to pace myself and keep moving. I set myself targets and just got better with practice.
I never injure/strain myself. It costs half of a gym membership. I go up to five times a week and I love it. I love the feeling of being in the water. The best bit is a 10 minute stint in the sauna and steam room. It clears my skin, opens my pores and gets all of the crap out. Sometimes, they put in some scents like menthol or lavender and that clears my lungs and helps me breathe easier.
Just being in the water takes my mind of everything and relaxes me. I don’t feel like I am exercising because I thoroughly enjoy the feeling. So if like me you are not a gym fan, try swimming.
In the UK, every local authority has a swimming pool. The costs are very reasonable and the benefits are massive.
There is a website Everyday Swim with lots of further information on it, including the bit below. The wonderful Duncan Goodhew is an Ambassador to this organisation. Worth a read if you want more info:
- 30 minutes of steady paced lane swimming burns over 200 calories – well over 400 in an hour.
- Any swimming that makes you breathe more heavily counts as ‘moderate’ activity. Even treading water takes effort, so you are working most of the time you’re in the pool……But remember – chatting in the shallow end only works your facial muscles!
- The pressure and resistance of the water makes your body work that little bit harder. 30 minutes of activity in the water is worth 45 minutes of the same activity on land.
- The water takes your weight, so swimming can be great for those who want low impact exercise – women during pregnancy for example, or for people who have mobility problems or want to protect their joints.
- Swimming works your whole body for all over toning!
- Swimming is great for your heart. Because you are using your whole body your heart has to pump blood hard to your arms and legs, helping circulation too.
- It is also great for your lungs – length swimming in particular forces you to breathe in a deep and rhythmic way which gives your lungs a boost.
- Being in water can have great psychological benefits too – the pool can ‘take you away from it all’ and the feeling of being in water can be refreshing, relaxing, and liberating as the water takes your weight.
- People of all different ages and abilities can enjoy swimming together – if you choose an activity you can do with friends and family you are more likely to stick at it. You’ll be having so much fun you won’t notice you’re working out too!