Many times we dismiss swimming as an extracurricular activity reserved only for the sunny, summertime.
Because of this, it’s easy to forget that this low-impact sport actually makes for a really great workout, and especially for those who want to lose weight.
“Swimming is a fantastic sport for weight loss,” says Olympic gold medal swimmer Misty Hyman. “It is easy on the joints, it uses the whole body, and is great for the lungs and heart. It is a very complete workout.”
However, if it’s been a while since the last time you stepped foot in a pool or you feel like your swimming skills are sub-par, taking this on as a new type of workout might seem intimidating.
But Hyman says there are a few simple steps you can take to make sure that you’ll get started off in the right direction.
“The first step is to learn proper technique and body position,” she said. “Even though swimming is a non-impact sport, it is important to perfect technique prior to pushing yourself too far or too hard in order to avoid injury.”
Additionally, like with any new workout routine, Hyman says to make sure that you increase your workout volume and intensity in the pool gradually.
You’ll also want to learn proper swimming technique.
“Learning proper technique will also help you to move more efficiently through the water which will allow you to get a better workout, Hyman said. “I highly recommend finding a good swim instructor to help you get started. Swimming is often counterintuitive, because it is so different from how we move on land.”
She also said that it’s helpful for new swimmers to use a heart rate monitor as an indicator of their effort level. But if you’re not into fancy gadgets, there are other ways to check in on your heart rate.
“I use a ‘quick and dirty’ six-second heart rate,” Hyman said. “I count the number of beats that occur in six seconds then I multiply that number by 10 to get the number of beats per minute—all you have to do is add a zero to get the number.”
She added, “Using your heart rate can help you get the most out of the time you spend in the pool.”