Getting Into The Swim of Things

by Jo Macdonald

Taking care of our health and doing things that build stamina, strength, and give us more energy are important if we want to live the next phase of our life feeling great - and, in my opinion, it really is how we feel that matters not how we look or what dress size we wear.   So, if you’re looking for a fun way to cool off this summer and build long, lean muscles then swimming could be just the thing for you.  And if you have any reservations about baring all in a swimsuit then remember that most pools these days have women only sessions at various times during the week. 

So, what are the benefits of swimming after 40?

Other than the obvious reasons, mainly that you don’t have to deal with giant sweat patches, keep up with the 20 year-old next to you, or invest in high tech gear, it’s great for several reasons:

  • It helps strengthen the muscles, tendons and ligaments that support your joints which results in greater balance and flexibility.
  • It works your whole body for all over toning.
  • It boosts your heart-rate, lung capacity, and helps with circulation.
  • Being in the water has great psychological benefits too and can improve your mood, lessen anxiety and is a great stress-buster.
  • It’s fun – there is something that brings back that childhood sense of freedom and fun just being in the water, especially on a hot summer’s day.

How to get the most out of a session:

Apparently just jumping in, swimming two lengths and then wallowing in the water for half an hour and enjoying a hot chocolate afterwards isn't the way to get in shape!  So how can you get the most out of your swimming sessions: 

  • To get an even better leg work out spend a few minutes treading water in the deep end.
  • Grabbing a kickboard and swimming a few lengths just kicking your legs is a great way to strengthen and tone stomach muscles.
  • Back stroke is great for all over toning of your arms (and works your bottom too – win win!)
  • Aim for 20-30 minute sessions (note to self - of actual swimming) to get the most out of your workout – but as with any new sport start slowly and build up over time.
  • If it’s been a while since you’ve been swimming then why not book a private swimming lesson at your local pool or leisure centre to ensure your technique gives you maximum benefit.
  • After your session enjoy a snack or hot chocolate in the cafe...because life is all about balance!