5 reasons to take up swimming this Autumn

The nights have started drawing in and you may start finding excuses why you ‘can’t’ go out for that walk, run or bike ride. So what do you do? You could sit inside and start getting ready for the winter with some extra insulation or, instead of losing that hard earned fitness, why not try your hand at swimming? Alternatively, if are looking for something to get you into activity, swimming could be just what you are looking for.

Here are 5 reasons to give it a go…

1. It doesn’t matter what the weather’s likeRaining

Come rain or shine, it doesn’t matter what the weather is, you can get into that swimming pool. So as autumn brings the wind and a chill in the air you can escape the elements at your local swimming pool.

2. It works your whole body

Swimming is a great whole body workout – working your upper and lower body, as well as your core, particularly when undertaking a variety of strokes in your session. It is also a fantastic exercise for the heart and lungs, increasing your fitness but also over time reducing blood pressure[1] and your risk of Type II diabetes, stroke and cardiovascular heart disease.

swimming 23. It’s less impact on your joints

As it is not a weight bearing exercise, swimming is much less likely to result in injuries to your ankles, knees and hips unlike other forms of exercise, particularly if you are overweight/obese or already suffer issues. It is important however to remember that some form of weight bearing exercise is important for reducing the risk of osteoporosis. Combining swimming with walking or cycling is a great combination. Furthermore, if you suffer from issues relating to your neck or spine, water aerobics may be preferable over swimming or sticking to backstroke to reduce stress to the neck[2].

4. You can do it alone or as part of a team

Swimming is a great sport for anyone who likes to or could do with time to yourself. Counting lengths or even strokes can be meditating and being in the water with your ears covered can help to connect you with yourself, reducing your stress levels. If you struggle to motivate yourself, you could always join a swimming club. Most clubs cater for a variety of abilities/fitness levels and there are sessions that focus on swimming as a group fitness rather than racing, enabling you to benefit from the motivation and friendships that come from being part of a team.

5. It’s great way to lose weightRetired U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jeanne Goldy-Sanitate smiles after completing a lap in the swimming pool at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., May 7, 2010. Goldy-Sanitate is competing in the 2010 Warrior Games, a competition designed to inspire and promote recovery through sports for wounded, ill, and injured Service members. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Desiree N. Palacios/Released)

Swimming is a brilliant endurance exercise that, as long as you work yourself to a point where you are out of breath, for at least 20 minutes, is great for fat loss. Add in a few sets of intervals (sets of sprints followed by rest), and you’ll also increase the amount of calories you burn post exercise.

So whether you once where in to swimming and lost the habit or it’s something you haven’t really tried as a form of exercise then get yourself to your local pool. Can’t swim? Many pools offer adult swim lessons to help you learn or just give yourself some confidence.

Need a challenge to get you motivated? Then you could always sign up for the Aspire Swim Challenge – 22 miles in 12 weeks – the equivalent of the English Channel[3].

So what are you waiting for? Get your local pools timetable and plan your next swim. Or maybe even join an outdoor swim club and get the added benefits of being in nature.

[1] Nualnim, N., Parkhurst, K., Dhindsa, M., Tarumi, T., Vavrek, J. and Tanaka, H. (2013) Effects of Swimming Training on Blood Pressure and Vascular Function in Adults >50 Years of Age. The American Journal of Cardiology. [Available online] href=”http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S000291491103445X”>http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S000291491103445X

[2] Westby, M (2001). A health professional’s guide to exercise prescription for people with arthritis: A review of aerobic fitness activities. Arthritis Care and Research [Available online] http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/1529-0131(200112)45:6%3C501::AID-ART375%3E3.0.CO;2-Y/full

[3] https://www.aspirechannelswim.co.uk

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