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Published November 25th 2013
Get fit by the end of summer
TSgt Samuel Morse Permission (Reusing this file) Public domain photograph from defenseimagery.mil.
The hot weather is almost here and it is time to get back into the swim. Many people swim over the summer because it becomes too hot to do their usual walking and pools are a great way to cool down. As many pools are open late in the evening it can be a great way to invigorate yourself after work.
Tip 1: Choosing a pool that you have you to drive past on your way home is one of the best ways to keep you on track with a swimming program.
If you are coming back to swimming after not swimming for many years then you really need to ease your way back into it.
In my experience 50 metre pools are better than 25 metre pools because you have less laps to count and keeping count is a bother, although these days there are a number of watches you can buy that will do it for you or even a ring which you keep on a finger. Just press a button at the end of each lap. Whatever means you choose, make sure you don't need a PhD in order to operate it.
What end you start at is irrelevant but my personal preference is the deep end because you are totally immersed once in and then you just swim instead of edging in gingerly.
I tend to start with 300 metres, which is 6 laps. The first night I'm tired because my arm muscles in particular are not accustomed to that kind of exercise. Therefore for the first six days I usually only go every second day. After that my body is well accustomed to it so it is possible and even beneficial to go every day (although every second day is still a good workout).
Long hair can get in the way. Copyright free image.
I usually build up by 2 laps every time I go until I am sitting on 20 laps, which is a kilometre. Another possibility is to keep doing 6 the first three time, then 8 for the next 3 times, and so on. Whatever way you choose, it is amazing how quickly you build up stamina. I stop on 20 and maintain it. Other people I know do far more than this but this is a personal aim.
You will find a lot of local swimming pools have lap-it-up clubs where you can fill cards to keep track of where you are to.
Tip 2: Don't even glance at anyone else's card because the number of laps regular swimmers do is quite daunting. Remember you are just starting out!
Tip 3: Like any exercise do some of it hard (get to panting stage) as this is the most beneficial part of the exercise.
Tip 4: Keep a bag in the car with all your stuff such as goggles, shampoo and conditioner and so on. You are less likely to renege if everything you have is there with you. The after swim shower can replace your daily shower at home so again you can get into a bit of a routine this way.
Tip 5: Buy a bathing cap as nothing is worse than hair flinging itself around your face when you are trying to swim. A cap also helps protect your hair from the chlorine.
Tip 6: Chlorine is a pain but there are plenty of products on the market that can help. If you don't want a special product some people swear that using a little cider vinegar or baking powder in the final rinse is the answer. And perhaps it was time for that short summer hair cut in any case.
Tip 7: I actually think it is worth investing in a cotton towelling robe to wear between getting out of the pool and ducking into the shower. They feel so warm and snug and slipping into one becomes one more pleasurable aspect for your new swimming routine.
Tip 8: To keep track of your laps you might want to invest a couple of dollars in an app.
Tip 9: When people are high-charged they complain that swimming is boring. It is true that with most other forms of exercise you can add stimulation such as listening to a book or podcasts. There are apparently water tight containers for your gadgets but there are few of us who would be brave enough to use them. Smart phones are a little expensive to dunk. B
ut another way to use swimming is to use it as a form of meditation. As you swim concentrate on your breathing and on your affirmations such as "I am healthy", "I am strong" or what ever your particular affirmations are. That way you are getting even more out of your workout.