I’m not going to list 2018 reasons why you should get wet this year (even though I could!) but as we say farewell to 2017 and begin a brand new year, many of us are thinking about fresh starts, healthy eating and new fitness goals.
My personal challenge as of 1st January has been to set myself a 100 day goal – swim every day, be totally vegan and no alcohol. At the end of the 100 days I want to swim a 100 x 100m swim set as fast as I can. This fairly short-term goal (even though it seems like a lifetime with no wine!) is the first step towards my next challenge of a longer open water swim.
Next month I will be blogging about our fantastic instructor, Jesus, who also set himself an epic open water challenge last summer. I will be talking to him about why he chose that particular goal, how he planned and trained for it and what it felt like to achieve something so amazing.
Goal setting is a fantastic way to get yourself motivated, keep on track and boost your sense of achievement in whatever you plan to do. Being specific about a challenge and planning on how and when you are going to reach this goal is key. Most of all, be brave and push yourself out of your comfort zone – if we set our minds, we can achieve anything.
Whether you are looking for lessons for your children, yourself or even friends or family, Aqualife have a variety of options and are dedicated to supporting each individual swimmer to achieve their goals.
Whatever your age or ability, swimming is a life skill. The earlier you start the better but I believe that anyone can learn to swim, it’s just the journey that’s different.
If you can already swim then maybe it’s only something you do whilst on holiday or haven’t really thought about since swim club or school days.
However, swimming really is one of the most beneficial activities for your whole body, mind and soul. Whatever your goals may be, learning to swim, maintaining and develop existing fitness or improve overall health and wellbeing, then taking the plunge is a perfect
way to start the New Year.
Work harder without realising it
There are numerous health and fitness benefits of swimming, namely the fact that water based exercise enables a maximum range of motion using your whole body and, as water is 800 times denser than air, you are already working at least 12 to 14 times harder than on land. Swimming also burns more calories than many other sports, for example, swimming 30 minutes of breaststroke burns 367.5 calories whereas running for 30 minutes at 6pmh would burn 300 calories. Protection from injury is another big plus for swimming as you are supported by the water eliminating any impact damage to joints, ideal for anyone suffering from past injuries or post-natal.
Swimming makes you happy - FACT
We are all living busy, stressful lives so finding some mental release is just as important as our physical fitness, according to a Department of Health report[i] swimming has been proven to increase and enhance mental well-being. Studies[ii] show that people reported less tension, depression, anger, confusion and more vigour after swimming. So what is it about swimming that makes us feel this way? Swimming, just like yoga, is all about rhythmical breathing, making it a very relaxing, peaceful exercise to perform. Water is an incredibly calming element and by slowing down your strokes, feeling supported by the water and concentrating on breathing this enables your mind to focus solely on your body. Escapism at its best!
Learn the basics and excel
As with all sports, using a good technique is very important. Small changes in your swimming strokes can make a significant difference from feeling like you are thrashing around in the water to gliding effortlessly!
Firstly good body position is essential, this means face in the water rather than holding it above the surface. Swimming with your head up not only creates body drag, meaning it is harder to glide forwards, but it puts significant pressure on your neck and spine. If you are unsure about putting your face into the water, invest in a pair of goggles and practice some breathing exercises in the shallow end (or bath!).
It’s worth considering having a few swimming lessons to improve your strokes and enlisting the help of a professional to put together an effective training and development plan. Joining swim clubs or attending swim sessions are a great way to meet like-minded people, follow a professional swim plan and have some fun!
Learn an essential life skill – and find a new hobby!
Swimming is not only a great exercise option but also an essential life skill. With improved basic swim skills many other activities also become available to us such as triathlon, sailing, scuba diving, rowing, surfing, snorkeling even swimming teaching or life saving!
There are many local swimming challenges that you may be interested in such as triathlons, charity swims and swimathons, please feel free to give us a call and have an impartial chat about how we can help you with your goals!
Make 2018 the year to swim your way to a happy and healthy life!
“At least five a week, the evidence of physical activity and it’s relationship to health” by Chief Medical Office, Department of Health.
“Mood alteration with swimming – swimmers really “do feel better”, Berger & Owen, 1983.