When it comes to swimming, I am a great example for it never being too late to master something new. Growing up I practically lived at the pool. Though I loved to play, float and do silly flips and handstands in the water, I was actually quite scared of the deep end as a child. My swimming lessons stopped after I had to jump off the diving board into the deep end of the water.
Fast-forward to my 30’s and after practically drowning in my first-ever attempt at open-water swimming in a sprint-distance triathlon, I decided it was time to learn how to swim for real. I began participating in my local YMCA’s Master’s Swimming program and one year later at age 38 I competed in my first-ever swim meet and placed first in all five of my events! Granted, I was the only female participating in my age group, so I was winner by default, but I do consider myself a very competent swimmer now and besides yoga, swimming laps is my most favorite way to workout.
Not only are swimming laps or any type of aqua fitness classes fun, but they provide numerous health benefits like increased muscle tone and strength (very important for those of us 30 and beyond), improved flexibility, a healthier heart and weight control. For a complete list and more information on the 10 Health Benefits of Swimming, check out this article at Discovery Fit & Health.
If you are already an accomplished swimmer, you will be interested to know that listening to music underwater can make you swim faster (according to research conducted at Brunel University). Even if it didn’t make me swim faster, it just makes the laps more enjoyable. Check out this Pyle brand Waterproof MP3 Player (with headphones) for the budget-friendly price of $39.99, available for purchase at Adorama.
If you want a great aerobic exercise that will also focus on toning your lower body, a kickboard (this is the one I own) is a great place to start. Check out this short video on using a kickboard from Simply Swim.
And if you are interested in trying out a Water Fitness class at your local gym, here’s a great video from British swimmer Kerri-Anne Payne, two-time World 10-km Open Water Champion and Olympic Silver Medalist. She talks you through popular Speedo water fitness equipment aqua gloves and an aqua belt for improving both upper and lower body strength and endurance. Now get out there and get swimming!