Fight your fears - get into swimming!
Fight your fears - get into swimming!
If you’re looking for a new sport to get into, swimming should be at the top of your list. Not only is it great fun, it’s also a fantastic low-impact exercise great for all ages and skill levels. We understand that the thought of starting a new sport can be a little bit daunting, but we think 2018 is the year for you to challenge yourself.
If you think: I’m too unfit to take up swimming.
We think: there’s no such thing!
This one is our first busted myth for a good reason – there is no one out there too unfit to take up swimming! You don’t need to start swimming 50-metre laps straight away, there are plenty of places you can start if the thought of getting from one side of the pool to the other without stopping is too daunting.
Hanging on to the side of the pool is a great way to practice your breathing and stroke techniques without having to worry about propelling yourself forward. Even though the effects might not feel as immediate as an activity like jogging because the water is keeping you cool, even simple exercises like kicking with a kickboard burn calories and build muscle mass.
If you think: I don’t have enough time to swim.
We think: most people can find the time, but prioritising is key.
With over 600 Olympic sized pools around Australia and hundreds more 25-metre pools, chances are there is a pool near you. Most are open from early in the morning until the evening, so most people should be able to work in a half-hour session a couple of times a week, even if it means getting up a little earlier. A morning workout can even help you feel more focused and energised throughout the day.
Our tip: Organise a dedicated ‘pool bag’ – a splash-proof bag you keep your bathers, towel, goggles, thongs and a change of clothes in so you can easily grab and go.
If you think: But I can’t even swim!
We think: everyone started somewhere.
This one isn’t a myth as such, because there are plenty of reasons one might not feel totally comfortable in the water. It’s included in this list of myths however because it’s important to note that everyone who swims well now had to have started somewhere. Whether you’re starting as a child, teenager or adult, swimming is an important skill to have, especially in Australia where we are quite literally surrounded by water!
If you feel like you wouldn’t even know what to do when your feet hit the water, you aren’t alone. There are plenty of Learn to Swim classes around the country for all ages, starting with feeling comfortable in the water and swimming a few metres right up to stroke development and swimming laps.
If weekly classes don’t work for you or you’d prefer an activity you can get used to on your own, most aquatic centres have a few different pools you can give a go before heading into the lap pool. Grab a kickboard or noodle for some support and spend some time kicking around in the shallow end. For an awesome leg workout, you could even try running the length of the pool instead of swimming to get yourself more comfortable with movement in the water – you’ll be timing your laps in no time!
If you think: I don’t feel comfortable in a swimsuit.
We think: you’ve got plenty of other options!
You’re right – it can seem daunting in the beginning if you aren’t used to putting on a swimsuit very often, but you’re not alone. If you sometimes feel a little self-conscious and feel like everyone else at the pool will be looking at you, don’t worry – that couldn’t be further from the truth. Just like you, everyone else at the pool is working on their own goals, whether that be swimming further, faster or just getting comfortable with the water themselves. Your fellow swimmers are too busy worrying about themselves to worry about you, too.
If getting into a one piece really is the only thing holding you back, it might be worth a trip to your local swimwear store to check out what they’ve got in terms of longer, more covered suits. You could opt for some boardshorts, rash vest or whatever makes you feel most comfortable. And if you decide to go for all the above, trust us – you won’t be the only one!
Here’s an extra little perk – swimming is proven to help release endorphins which in turn can make you feel happier about yourself and increase self-esteem. Now there’s a reason to get in the pool you just can’t dispute!
Have you got any tips for beginner swimmers? Let us know on Facebook! @swimmingaustralia