The triathlon – thought of by many as an ultimate test of physical and mental endurance. A swim, bike, run event that is popular among many athletes as a goal to achieve, a test to challenge their body’s limits. It is glorified in its Ironman form - the intense 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and 26.2 mile run - but opportunities to compete in triathlon events exist all over the world and on smaller scales than the full Ironman. While almost everyone can run or bike, more people do not know how to swim. These people do not know that swimming is one of the best full body workouts you can possibly do for yourself! Swimming is a great way to stay healthy and workout your body with less impact and many people have been missing out on its benefits. To name a few:
- It is the only aerobic exercise that is a full body workout without the harsh impact on your bones. No one ever gets shin splints or stress fractures from swimming laps. If you are experiencing bone or joint pain, getting into a pool for your workout will be much more welcoming than stepping on to a treadmill.
- Swimming not only burns calories and strengthens your heart; it can also double as strength training. As your arms and legs are working on moving forward, they are met with resistance by the water, and resistance exercise is a great way to tone and strengthen muscle.
- If you are an asthma sufferer or have difficulty exercising in certain climate or weather conditions, a pool significantly reduces or eliminates those challenges. Swimming provides a stable, moist air environment to breathe in which can help reduce exercise induced asthma symptoms. Even if you don’t suffer from any breathing difficulties, swimming will still give you the opportunity to increase your lung capacity.
- First, if you truly do not know how to swim, seek out an instructor for lessons. Hiring an instructor isn’t a bad idea even if you do know how to swim because they can better train you on proper form and breathing for a better workout. Club La Maison offers lessons to swimmers of all ages and abilities and all of our lessons are private one-on-one lessons.
- Get your accessories ready. Goggles and a swim cap will be necessary. You may want to consider ear plugs or a nose clip. A kick board will prove as a very good training aid, but most public facilities, such as gyms, will have them available. And don’t forget a towel!
- Practice your breathing. Poor breathing technique will significantly affect the efficiency of your stroke, so spend as much time as possible, perfecting your breathing technique.
- As with any workout, after a swim you need to recover. Start the recovery process by cooling down in the pool by reducing your speed and distance gradually, not suddenly. Take some time after exiting the pool to stretch your muscles. Don’t wait to stretch after you’ve dried off because your muscles will have gone cold. Replenish within an hour after your swim with a carbohydrate and protein snack (aim for a 3-to-1 or 4-to-1 ratio). And, even though it is difficult to notice, you do sweat while swimming, so keep yourself hydrated.