Add Swimming to Get Fitter Faster
Loving the outdoors usually goes hand in hand with leading an active and healthy lifestyle. Whether you’re passionate about hiking, climbing, running, swimming, or cycling, your desire to be outside forces you to maintain a certain level of fitness. This is great for your health and overall mental well-being.
As outdoor lovers, we’re usually up for a challenge, and we constantly push ourselves to climb a bigger hill or cycle a harder route. Maybe you’re even thinking of entering a marathon this year! However, unless you’re a budding triathlete, you may not be adding swimming into your routine to help get you fit for outdoor activities.
This post shows you how swimming can complement your outdoor pursuits.
Benefits of Swimming
A major benefit of swimming is that it uses all of the major muscle groups in your body. As you swim, you engage your quads, hamstrings, pecs, shoulders, lats and triceps. Along with this, you’ll also significantly improve your core strength due to the fact you are constantly working to maintain a good body position in the water. As a result of constantly using these main muscles, there’s a great cardiovascular benefit.
Another key reason swimming is an excellent addition to your routine is the lack of stress and strain on your body. Swimming is a weight bearing sport, which means that there is very little pressure on your joints as you perform the activity. This minimizes injury risk. For this reason, swimming is often the sport of choice for those who are already injured.
When trying to improve your fitness, it is essential that you constantly challenge yourself so that your body is always trying to adapt and therefore, getting fitter or stronger. If you don’t already swim regularly, simply adding in this different kind of exercise will shock your body to adapt to this new form of exercise. You will likely use muscles you are not used to using, and you will be building a different kind of aerobic capacity.
Once you add swimming into your routine, you can enjoy it all over the world in many different scenarios. There are some amazing lakes and seas to swim in, and you can also compete in triathlon events.
Here’s what an example swimming session for a beginner or intermediate swimmer who can swim more than one length comfortably. You can adapt and adjust based on your ability. The key is progression and change so that your body always has to work to improve.
4 x 50m front crawl
8 x 25m alternating front crawl and backstroke
100m IM (all four strokes)
4 x 100 front crawl getting faster on each one
4 x 50 choice as 25m fast, 25m steady
200 choice of stroke, steady
The above session focuses mainly on shorter distances. If you already swim, it’s a good starting point to see where your ‘swimming fitness’ is. Progress from there by increasing the distances and intensity.
If you don’t yet know how to swim, consider taking a few lessons to learn the basics of the technique and practice before worrying about distance or stamina.
Connor Mollison is a retired competitive swimmer, having had a 12-year swimming career, ranking within the top 20 in the UK. He has competed at national and international events. Since he stopped swimming, he focuses on coaching and teaching.