I'm In! Why you should swim for leisure, health, fitness or competition

By I'm In! in Swim - 03/03/2015

Why Should I Swim?


We often associate swimming as being one of two extremes; we see the athletes at the Olympics and feel inspired but a little bit intimidated or we think of it as being too gentle for gaining fitness, plodding up and down a pool. Swimming is actually a multi-faceted exercise which can be a great addition to your health and fitness routine, can provide you with additional benefits compared to other exercises and can be enjoyable - you just need to know what you’re swimming for!


Why swim for leisure?


Swimming is the perfect way to splash about and have fun with friends and family. As you move around in the water, race eachother or swim up and down having a chat, you’ll be exercising without even realising it! Swimming also builds water confidence in children and many of our pools have water inflatables or family fun sessions which you can enjoy too.


Lots of our customers choose to hop in the pool for a quick dip after a workout to enjoy a casual swim and some quiet time out. Swimming is a great way to unwind and can be an ideal cool down for a workout.


Why swim for health?


Swimming is great for both mental and physical health. Water can be very relaxing, helping you to keep you calm, enjoy a bit of escapism and have some quiet time to yourself. It’s the yoga of the water world! On the other hand, yhysically, swimming is great for your health as it uses your whole body, so you get a complete body workout. The resistance of the water also means that you can enjoy some muscle toning benefits as well as keeping your heart healthy. This water resistance also means that you use more energy to propel yourself through the water which in turn works your heart and muscles harder, improving your fitness and burning more calories. Swimming is one of the highest calorie burning activities that you can do, so get started!


Unlike some activities such as running, swimming is a non-impact sports so it’s a lot more gentle on your body. This makes swimming a perfect activity if you are recovering from illness or injury. Before you pop those goggles back on though, always double check with your GP that you are well enough to return to physical activity and notify one of our lifeguards on your visit so that they are aware in case you need any assistance.


Why swim for fitness?


Swimming for fitness is a great way to add to your workout routine. Swimming uses your whole body giving you a complete body workout and the resistance of the water makes your muscles and heart work a bit harder to propel you along. This can also help to build some muscle tone and strength as well as cardio fitness - so you can enjoy two benefits for the price of one!

Swimming can be a very enjoyable and challenging exercise for fitness; with a range of strokes to choose from and various lane speeds available (slow, medium and fast lanes) you can work as hard as you like! Swimming for fitness is just as easy as what you may do in the gym, here are a few ideas to get you started:

Distance - set yourself a goal of how far you would like to swim and each session add one or two lengths on to what you did previously until reach your goal distance. Then you can set another goal!

Interval training - you can alternate lengths in terms of speed or stroke e.g front crawl and then breaststroke

To measure the increase in your fitness, you can start to time yourself over a one length sprint or over your distance swim to see how much quicker you are getting.


Many of our centres also now offer Swimfit; this is a programme which includes a variety cards with swimming session plans on and instructor led sessions which you can read more about just here


Why swim for competition?


There are plenty of ways that you can get involved in swimming more competitively. Swimming for an event, race or with a club can be really motivating as you are training for a specific goal rather than swimming ‘aimlessly’. There are some great ways that you can get involved in swimming more competitively:

Swimming clubs: Many of our centres have local swimming clubs which use the pool at certain times. Swimming clubs often have various levels and age group sessions. To find out more, contact us and we can point you in the right direction.

Swimathon: This fantastic event gives you the opportunity to swim 1.5k, 2.5k or 5k as an individual or as a team, all to raise money for Marie Curie Cancer Care. It’s a great way to challenge yourself with the distance and work towards it in training. Swimathon takes place in April, so there’s still plenty of time to register, find out more about Swimathon here

Aspire Channel Swim: Exactly as it says on the tin - you will swim the length of the channel! But don’t panic, not all in one go. Aspire channel swim starts in September and between and December, you simply tally up all the lengths and distances that you have swum to try and complete 22 miles (the distance of the channel) in those couple of months. All money raised goes to help people with spinal chord injuries.

Open water swimming and triathlons: If you really want to try something different, try open water swimming! After a few sessions, it won’t seem any where near as daunting as it does now! There are some fantastic swimming events in lakes, seas and even rivers all over the country. If you really want to incorporate other work that you do in the gym, perhaps cycling and running, then give triathlon a go! Many of our centres run “Go Tri” sessions which allow you to sample triathlons in a leisure centre environment. Find out more here


Think we’ve given you enough reasons to swim?! Swimming is a varied and enjoyable activity, with lots of support and easy ways to get involved, progress and enjoy an improved level of fitness and great sense of achievement. Get involved today and say I’m In!