Yesterday we took a look at the five benefits of swimming. Today we’re going to talk about how to start your own swimming program and more specifically what you should be looking to get out of it.
Give Yourself A Fitness Test
Swimming is a unique exercise in that some people who may be otherwise physically fit may find themselves swimmer huffing and puffing once they hit the water. My recommendation is to first see how many laps you can do at a reasonable pace. Don’t worry if it’s only a few the first time, it’s only meant to gauge your safety in the water.
If you can’t-do more than 10 laps without stopping, you’ll want to stick to shorter, less intense pool sprints first time out. If on the other hand, you find that you can do much more than 10 without a problem, you can increase the length and intensity of your sprints.
Start Off Slow
Once you have a better understanding of what type of swimmer you are, you can start by doing lap sprints. This will not only help you become a stronger swimmer, but the high-intensity nature of sprints will provide your body with more of an opportunity to burn fat.
But don’t take things too fast when you start off. Swimming can be deceiving in that you may not know you’re exhausted until you start sinking to the bottom of the pool! If you can only do 2 or 3 sprints the first time, no problem. Just build up to more as you go. And remember, if you’re doing pool sprints don’t forget to rest for a minute or two between sets depending on how tired you are.
Chart Your Progress
Writing down the exercises you’ve completed is essential to any fitness program. This way you will be able to keep track of your progress and also push yourself to get better. This doesn’t have to be extensive, it could simply say “15 minutes – 3x one lap sprints”. See? That’s just one little line that describes your workout for the day.
You could even bring a sharpie to the pool with you and mark an “X” on your hand for every lap sprint you did that day. The point is when you write things down you gain perspective on what it is you’re doing. Otherwise, you won’t realize that you’ve been doing the same workout for five months and therefore you’ll never get better.
So test the waters, start off slow, and chart your progress. In my opinion, going for those intense, short lap sprints will be the best way to get you started in the pool! By the way, here are some good links that should help you start things off!
Popular Swimming Pool Workouts (Military.com)
Insider’s Guide To Swimming: Pool Workout (Fitness Magazine.com)
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