Graeme Moore competed for South Africa in the 2012 Summer Olympics and is currently in his last year of studying Medicine at Wits University.
If you find the idea of getting into a costume and venturing to a public pool daunting, you’re not alone. Swimming is a pretty intimate sport, but it encourages you to be comfortable with your body and is packed with benefits. It’s great for your cardiorespiratory system, gives a full-body workout, involves a large amount of core work and is gentle on the joints.
The truth is, it’s probably the best form of exercise for you if done consistently. It’s great for gym regulars who are looking for a different form of cardio, for those who are looking for their niche and even for people in rehabilitation from injury. Most cities have indoor and outdoor public pools, and your gym pool is begging you to jump right in.
Whether you consider yourself an amateur who’s looking to improve their technique, or you haven’t been in a swimming pool in years, try Graeme’s tips for happy swimming. Your body will thank you!
1. Get some friends involved
It’s widely thought that swimming is a lonely sport, and it can be if you’re hoping for some alone time in the pool. But I recommend getting involved with some friends or even a club – it keeps things fun and social, and also holds you accountable for those days you need a slight push to get into the water.
2. Pace yourself
Take it slow and be consistent. We are land-based creatures and the water is not our natural environment. Don’t be frustrated if you can’t swim like the pros after one session. Work on your technique every time you’re in the water. As soon as you become fatigued, you compromise body position and technique, so build up slowly.
3. Ask for advice
Stroke technique and head and body position in the water are key. Trying to move through water with the wrong technique and body position will be like trying to swim through syrup and will only frustrate you. Get help with your technique and body position early on. Practising the basics correctly will not only make you faster, but your stroke will flow better and you will enjoy moving through the water more.
Relax; control your breathing and heart rate. The better you can manage energy output, the more efficient you’ll be and the more you will want to swim.
5. Get some sun
Get outside and get some sun. In summer, change up the indoor water workouts with some outdoor sessions – it really makes the world of difference and you can get a healthy colour too. Just wear sunscreen while you’re at it. Sun-kissed? Good. Sunburnt? Bad.
6. Shake things up!
Change up strokes, drills, equipment and distances. We all have favourites (including me) and definitely have a tendency to repeat workouts that we enjoy, but there are countless innovative things to do in the water other than mindless lap swimming. Talk to the swimming community, Google workouts, speak to coaches – there are numerous resources freely available. Trying different things in the water means you won’t get bored and your general athleticism will improve.
7. Equipment, equipment, equipment
Finally, you need good goggles! A good, comfortable pair of goggles that you can see through well is vital for happy swimming.