Is swimming part of your fitness regime?
I caught up with Duncan Goodhew who is currently encouraging people of all ages to get swimming as part of the ‘Swim Britain’ campaign. The programme is aiming to get 500,000 more people into the water by 2015.
I asked him for his thoughts on how and why those of us over 50 should get back in the water!!
“ Swimming really is the best form of exercise. If you take part in a challenge such as the relays in the Swim Britain challenge then 10 lengths would provide you with a 250 metre swim. By being part of a relay team it becomes more social, and you can set yourself the challenge of 1000 metres and build up to it. If you swim regularly you improve every day.
If you haven’t swum for a while – have a couple of lessons. It’s amazing how 2 hours of coaching can transform how you swim. You will swim fewer strokes for each length, and as your stroke improves you will look and feel better in the water.
Set yourself a personal challenge to improve your stroke.
Being in the water is also relaxing. Being in the water helps you to escape the reality of the real world. When you float it feels like you’re flying. You can’t take your phone into the water with you – so the stresses of the day go away. You always feel better after exercise, but for me swimming is beyond that. Being in the water can almost feel spiritual.
Why is swimming such good exercise, and is there a ‘best stroke’ for fitness?
Freestyle is the best for fitness, but any stroke is better than no stroke. It is god to mix it up. Swimming increases your heart rate and improves your brain usage. It puts no stress on the body and gently massages your joints.
Top Tips for getting the most out of swimming:
- Sign up to a program such as Swim Britain- it will encourage you to set a goal and stick with it.
- Work out a plan for your training sessions
- Before you get into the water, and when you get out, take a ‘Zen’ moment. Look at how the water sparkles before you get in, and remember how good it made you feel when you get out. Then you’ll be back!
You can find out more about Swim Britain at http://www.swimbritain.co.uk/