In praise of swimming
Over the last six months or so, I haven’t stopped going on about how much I've got into swimming, and I’ve surprised myself. I hate being cold and I've never been a massive fan of anything involving water (snorkelling, boating etc.,)…except obvs I love me a bath. But here’s why I love it:
- It’s a full body workout without being too intense on the cardio or toning front. It’s therefore also a great alternative to weight bearing exercise if you are injured and can’t run/cycle.
- I find it pretty meditative. If I am having a hard day at work, getting in that pool takes everything away – I would describe it as a sensory experience when you can only see underwater then side to side, can only hear splashing, you're soaked etc.
- On the meditative front, it commands attention to breathing which calms you down and focuses your mind.
- You can’t take your phone in! Digital detox, ey!
- As a pregnant person, I really, really appreciate the loosening effect on my ever aching limbs and growing body. The weightlessness is also pretty fab. It’s basically been a lifesaver for me in pregnancy to the point that I felt like crying when I tried to go with my mum one weekend and the local pool was full of kids and we couldn’t swim.
Not got the buzz yet? Here’s my tips for getting your swimming love on:
- Find a quiet pool/go at quieter times – there’s nothing like breaking the hypnotic swim spell than navigating lanes of twenty people all swimming at different speeds, splashing and passively aggressively hogging space. Member gyms tend to be quieter than PAYG leisure centres and if you are lucky enough to be able to nip out for a lunch break from work, try going at 12 or 2.30 rather than 12.30-1.30 when it's going to be rammed.
- Get yourself some decent goggles and a swim cap – makes all the different so you aren’t fidgeting about with non-water tight goggles every other length.
- Swim outside and revel in the fresh air, it’s a special feeling! There are loads of lidos in London and my fave place to swim in Central London is the Oasis in Tottenham Court Road. You would never expect there to be a massive pool on Charing Cross! And if you're feeling even more adventurous, try open water swimming!
- Learn to swim properly – I can’t tell you how much the freedom of learning to swim front crawl has given me over plodding along doing breaststroke. It makes me feel like a ‘proper’ swimmer and like I can get a better workout in. I’ve learnt with Swimming Nature and Swim For Tri before and would wholeheartedly recommend both.
- If you find you get bored easily, mix up your lengths with some drills so do every tenth length on your back for example or using a float kicking only.
- Pre pack your bag the night before – nothing to put you off going for a swim again when you forgot your goggles/towel/hair brush/moisturiser/wet bag etc.
Keep on swimming!