Getting In Shape By Swimming

Jumping into any new workout regime can be daunting even to the most physically fit of individuals. Many routines involve frequent high impact activities such as running or include the use of weight machines that may seem foreign. Although many of these workout routines can be helpful, they often are not a “one-size fits all” solution and can result in injury if done incorrectly. Swimming is a low impact and fairly accessible alternative that can lead to both increased muscle mass and improved endurance.

When starting swimming, it’s important to remember that, much like any activity, consistency is key. A good starting point is to swim up to three times a week and aim to swim 30 minutes each time. There are many workouts available online, but typically a workout should consist of two warm-up laps, alternating fast and slow laps, additional strokes, and a cool down lap.

An example of a basic training swim workout:

  • Warm Up:
  • 1 lap easy
  • 1 lap fast
  • Repeat five times, with no rest if possible.
  • Rest
  • 2 laps KICK
  • 1 lap backstroke
  • 1 lap freestyle
  • 1 lap breaststroke
  • 1 lap freestyle
  • Rest
  • Swim down:

The additional strokes during a routine swim workout will ensure all muscle groups are being engaged. Although this workout is ideal for many people, some may find that this is either too difficult or too easy for them initially. Consistency is once again key if it is too difficult, as improvement should occur so long as swimming is done regularly. If this workout is found to be too easy then additional laps or increased speed can be added.

A good baseline for physical fitness in swimming is the ability to swim approximately 2 miles, or 3,000 meters. Swimmers who are at this level of physical fitness should perform cross training, including weight lifting, running or jogging, and yoga. Each of these can help prevent any muscular imbalances that could occur.

Swimming is a sport that nearly anyone can do. Injuries in swimming are extremely infrequent, and many individuals who have joint or mobility issues have found that swimming allows them to be physically fit without aggravating an existing injury. Athletes and casual swimmers alike use swimming as a way to exercise, regain lost fitness, or just have fun while exercising.

Originally published at on November 25, 2018.