No matter what your fitness level, swimming is a great exercise. It’s an all round work out, gives you a cardio blast as well as toning muscles and the benefits of being around water coupled with physical activity can relieve stress and help to improve mental health.

Even if you’ve never swum before, it’s never too late to start. The nature of swimming means that you can vary your pace to make workouts as strenuous or relaxing as you want

If this isn’t enough to get you reaching for your cossie and heading for the water here are a few pointers to get you falling in love with swimming

Start small – set an achievable goal

If you’re new to swimming or you haven’t swum for a while, don’t try to break any records. Set yourself a small goal, such as staying in the water for 20 minutes, just aim to spend some time enjoying being in the water and stretching those muscles out.

Save the big goals until you’re really in love with swimming.

Don’t try to swim continuously

It’s fine to take a breather! If you’re in a pool, stop at the end of each length, take a breather and think about what you could improve on your next length.

If you’re swimming outdoors don’t try to swim all the way across a lake! Set yourself short distances with regular stop points where you can decide whether you want to go further or not.

Listen to your body

Some days you’re just not feeling it. Your arms feel heavy, your legs won’t do what you want them to and did this water get thicker?

Don’t push yourself too hard, have an easier swim or take sometime just floating and enjoying the water.

Don’t focus too much on fitness or weight loss goals.

We’ve all been there; we start a new routine and immediately start checking the scales and looking at our fitness watch to see if there are any changes.

Like any new exercise improved “fitness” can be slow at the beginning and if you’re monitoring for changes too often day you won’t notice the difference. If you’re just enjoying swimming the change in your ability or body shape might take you by surprise one day.

Make it social

Taking to the water on your own can sometimes feel daunting, especially if you’re taking on open water – a lake or the sea – for the first time. Recruit your bestie or a loved one to join you in the pool. Having someone to swim with can be a great motivator and it’s good to have someone who you can share the successes with or laugh off the slip ups.

Not got a willing volunteer. Say hello to other swimmers around you, you might find they’re a friendly bunch and strike up a conversation. Or join a local swimming club. There are pool swimming clubs aimed at all ages and abilities and outdoor swimming clubs are become more popular.

Make a commitment

If you swim in the mornings, you may not be ready to spring out of bed on a cold dark morning and jump into the water. Similarly, if you swim later in the day you might already feel tried and ready for a date with the sofa and Netflix. If you’ve already made the commitment the night before and got your stuff ready and laid out, you’re less likely to make an excuse and operate on autopilot until you get in the water.

Make the ultimate commitment by signing up for a swimming event. We’ve got distances from 250 meters to 10 kilometres for swimmers of all abilities. You can choose from two different locations in the beautiful Suffolk countryside at Alton Water or the stunning landscape of the Lake District at Brokhole on Windemere.  

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