So, you’ve decided to dive into the water more often? Excellent! Swimming is a fun, fantastic form of aerobic and strength-building exercise with lots of major health benefits. Adding regular swims into your life is sure to improve your physical, mental, and emotional well being. You’ll probably soon learn that swimming isn’t merely just another activity—it’s a lifestyle!
While we’re always quick to gush about how awesome swimming is, it does come with some challenges. Some are no different than those you’d encounter taking up any new sport, but others are unique, stemming from the fact that swimming takes place in pools and/or open water.
In our never-ending quest to support swimmers of all skill and experience levels, we’ve compiled the tips below to help you adjust to this new, exciting undertaking.
Adjusting to the Swim Life
- Consider taking swim lessons to learn proper techniques; whichever strokes you use, the right form improves your speed and the quality of your workouts, and helps minimize fatigue and risk of injuries
- Learn and use different strokes for more fun, more comprehensive workouts
- Don’t overlook smaller technique details like how your hands enter and move through the water, head position, and breathing; these seemingly little things have big affects on your skill development and stamina
- Swimming is harder than many people expect; take it easy at first and gradually build up the intensity, speed, distance, and duration of your swims
- Spending all that time in the water—especially in a pool full of chemicals—can be majorly drying on your skin; take a look at our tips to prevent and treat dry swimmer’s skin
- The same goes for your hair; check out our tips to prevent and treat dry swimmer’s hair, too
- If you’re a blond and regularly spend time in the pool, its copper content can cause discoloring in your hair; read up on preventing and treating a greenish hair tint
- Talk to experienced swimmers and ask them for any advice they can share about technique, habits, and fitting the activity into your regular schedule
- Swimming, like any other exercise, is a real workout; spend some time stretching and warming up/down before and after to help prevent strain or injuries, and to optimize performance
- It’s well worth the time and money to find quality swimwear that fits perfectly; protect these investments by knowing how to care for your swimsuits
- Select the right swim goggles and make sure you know how to keep them in good shape with proper goggle care
- Swim fins are an often overlooked accessory that can really help improve your kick form and your ankle flexibility
- Ear plugs are another good buy, especially for limiting discomfort if you swim in cold water and for preventing swimmer’s ear infections
- Swim often—preferably at least three or four times per week—to maintain your “feel for the water” and consistently improve
- Keep track of your swim times to monitor changes in your performance
- Try other pool activities like walking in water that reaches higher than your abdomen, water aerobics, or water yoga to build your physical capabilities and enjoy the water in other ways
- Yoga, tai chi, or other gentle movement-based exercises are great for improving flexibility and range of motion, which in turn improves your swimming abilities
- Whole grains, lean proteins, and fruit juices are excellent sources of energy for a serious swim