Slicing my arms through the inviting water at my gym is my favourite way to start a day. I rejoined my gym at home since moving back from university and decided to bite the bullet and buy an all-inclusive membership, swimming pool and all. As much as I adore running, no day feels more accomplished than the days the start with a few lengths. And that’s probably because swimming is a bit more challenging for me. I remember being picked to compete in a biathlon at junior school, feeling okay about the run, but feeling obliged to insist to my teacher that I could let the team down when it came to the swimming. Whether I did or not, I remember climbing out of the pool at thinking, you only went and did it!
- Sleep – Swimming has helped me have a far better quality of sleep; allowing me to also drift off easily when I get into bed earlier than normal. I seem to be getting less sleep and feeling far better. Being someone who claims there aren’t enough hours in the day, this is my favourite benefit of tiring myself in the water.
- Endurance – At the end of each swimming session, I seem to realise I have been able to manage 2-4 more lengths more in the same period of time (about 45 minutes) than the time before. Similarly, the endurance I gain from swimming appears to encourage my body when doing other exercise. I feel my core has strengthened, thereby helping my runs feel smother.
- Strength – Over the last couple of months my arms (although I’m sure it’s strengthened other parts of me too!) seem to have strengthened and this translates into other workouts. When I train my arms in the gym I can more quickly up my weight and I assume this is down to the fact swimming is just unbelievable as an all-body workout.
- Content muscles – While I feel a wonderful kind of challenged when swimming a few lengths, it is a low impact exercise. I think swimming complements running perfectly; I believe any runner should also swim. Your muscles will thank you if your body is telling you that you need a break from running, if you’re recovering from a race or if you’re simply looking for another exercise that works really well alongside your running. You will soon feel how it cheers on your muscles while the impact from running may sometimes encourage your muscles to hiss at you.
- A healthy mind – Exercise, in general, has consistently proven to be brilliant for our mental health. During a swimming workout I feel relaxed despite working really hard (the whole no sweating thing probably encourages this feeling) and the endorphins seem to be felt all day long.
I can’t sing the praises of swimming enough! How have you found swimming to help you?
~ Kat ~