Swimming is one the most beneficial activities you can do for your health. It’s low impact, offers a great method of cardio exercising without the potential to sustain physical damage, and just being in the water is incredibly soothing.
Making the most of the benefits of swimming for fitness can be tricky, especially if you've taken time off from your normal pool routine over the last few months. Below are five tips that can help you kick-start your swimming routine for the new year, allowing you to meet your goals and continually work to improve your personal health and fitness.
1. Get into the right routine early
The sooner you can establish a routine of swimming, the better. Carefully scan your schedule for days when you will always be able to find the time for a trip to the pool. You also need to examine the routine you have while at the pool; number of lengths, the variance of strokes, and so on and so forth. When you have found a routine that works for you, you can begin the process of improvement, gradually developing yourself to swim faster or longer. Incorporate training aids into your routine, perhaps find a swimming set that is good for you.
2. Set yourself targets
Swimming can be used to maintain your fitness, but to make the most of the activity, you’re going to want to continually improve. Setting targets is a great way to keep your mind focused on increased performance, and thus bigger health benefits, right from the start of the year. Common targets include an increase in speed, number of lengths, or proficiency at different strokes. Using a swimming watch is great for tracking your progress, watches such as the Poolmate Live can track laps, strokes, speed, distance and more! You can then use this data and compare it to previous swims, thus tracking progress towards your targets.
3. Improve on last year
Before you begin the new swimming year, note down -- or check your records -- for what you achieved the year before. Your first target should be to improve in all of these areas. You can also consider “improvement” to mean finding a routine and sticking to it throughout the year-- every little area of success counts. If you have regular annual meets and competitions, that are usually around the same time of year, you can use these as your objective markers, improving year on year. Make sure you save your best performance suit for these occasions. Performance suits can shave precious time off your swim, and should only be used in competition. Even for qualifying, when you need to be your fastest, a brand new racing suit will far outperform an old one, over time the water-resistant coating can wear off, the suits level of compression will decrease as it loses its shape, the hi-tech compression lines and panels are not as effective so muscles are not so well supported and blood flow is not optimized. Check out our range of FINA approved racing suits here.
4. Develop yourself
If you wish to continue to improve in swimming, it’s worth considering the developments you can make to yourself outside of the water. Lifting weights, for example, is hugely beneficial for your swimming stats, as is learning to control your breathing effectively. Even running regularly is an excellent way to increase your endurance, Arena's range of compression clothing is essential when upping your fitness efforts, compression clothing will support key muscles as well as increase blood circulation, aiding in the prevention of injury as well as the post-exercise recovery.
5. Have a fresh start with equipment
Are your goggles a little too tight? Your nose plug not as effective as it once was? Or perhaps you just don’t feel good when you’re wearing your swimsuit-- whatever the problem, new equipment can help you feel like the new year really is a fresh start for your swimming regime. Treat yourself to equipment that is up-to-date and that you’re excited to use, ensuring you have plenty of reasons to get yourself into the water as soon as possible.
By following the tips above, you can be sure that your swimming regime manages to burst into the new year full of hope, optimism, and the potential for long-term growth. Given the benefits of swimming for your personal health and fitness, the establishment of such a great routine will help keep you smiling for the next 12 months and beyond.