Get into Swimming!

5 12 2010

Hi it’s me,

Don’t just hit your close button, hear me out. I know I’ve been distant these past couple of days but I can explain. I’ve just been really stressed and busy with work but it doesn’t change the way I feel about you dear reader. I know we’ve had our problems but we can work it out! I’ll never neglect you again (ignore the fact that sentence took about 3 minutes to write as I was watching Modern Family).

This week, I’ll be talking to you about the joys of swimming. If you have your doubts let me hit you with some health benefits:

Huge cardio workout – A common misconception of swimming is that it’s not as thorough a cardiovascular workout as running or cycling. I can kind of understand why – I had a knee injury and went through a phase of solely swimming. Once I went back to running, it was really challenging. I think it was because running and swimming are just so different and just because you’ve been swimming you wont automatically be great at running – you need to get some miles back into those legs. I did feel really fit however and I was doing loads more lengths in the pool. Once I’d been running for a couple of weeks whilst keeping up the swimming, my lung capacity was excellent due to the swimming and I had enough in my legs to keep a good pace. The two exercises really compliment each other.

Large weight loss  – If you’re looking to drop a few pounds, swimming is a brilliant all over workout. If anything, the real danger is that you can potentially burn so many calories, many people overeat after their workout. If your technique is good, it tones your core like no other exercise – it’s a great way to supplement your gym program if you’re looking to tone your abs.

Stress relief – This goes for running and cycling too, but I don’t know if it’s the silence underwater or the hypnotic movement of old ladies arm fat but there’s something so relaxing about swimming.

So now you’re completely convinced about swimming let me recommend some items that I would recommend to anyone getting started.

Mariner Mirror Googles

Bit of a no brainer but you’re going to need goggles. You certainly get what you pay for when it comes to goggles – I would only recommend Speedo, but if you start taking it more seriously you might want to upgrade to competition models.

Speedo Power Paddle

Like any exercise, swimming can be easy for it to become monotonous if you don’t add any variety. I like to mix up my time in the pool by doing 20 laps with the paddles, which gives you a strength and toning exercise on your upper body and then I’ll do 40 unaided. Powerpaddles also help improve your technique by making it easier to keep you body line on the surface of the water.

Speedo Aquabeat 1GB (Lime) Waterproof MP3 Player

This is on my Christmas list as I love listening to music when I exercise and swimming is no different. Simply Electronics stock this model at an incredibly good price and I for one am looking forward to listening to music in the pool!

Total Immersion by Terry Laughlin

When I first started swimming again to train for Triathlons, a friend at work loaned me this book and it really helped. I’m not going to go into the whole content of it but it focuses on the way you shape your body to be more economic with your movement. The end result is to move faster and easier in the water and I think it really worked. It was like learning to walk again a little bit as when I used to swim front crawl I just powered with my  shoulders but this book teaches you to engage your core muscles making it a lot easier on your upper body. The analogy Laughlin uses is that a baseball player doesn’t just use his arms to swing his bat, he engages his whole body from the feet to the end of bat. It’s a really interesting read, lots of illustrations and after an hour you wont be able to wait to get into the pool and try out some of the exercises.

Right, I’m off to see Monsters at the cinema which will be followed by a review tomorrow! Happy swimming.

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