5 Reasons to Include Swimming in Your Workouts

5 Reasons to Include Swimming in Your Workouts (And Benefits Of Working With A Swim Coach)

Whether you are an elite athlete, training for a fitness event, or simply interested in maintaining a base level of health, there are nearly countless elements available to you that you can include in your workout routines. Every workout program has its own philosophy for what things are best to include.

However, a type of exercise exists that can provide substantial benefits for fitness improvement but that is often overlooked. Incorporating swimming as an element of your fitness training can be a game-changing move and not only improve your swimming efficiency but can also positively impact your performance in other training areas and across a range of fitness metrics.

Whatever your fitness aspirations, give swimming a thought and consider whether it could be a good addition to your training plan.

Swimming as Exercise: The Benefits for You

There are a few distinct ways that swimming can be a hugely beneficial fitness activity. Though this isn’t an exhaustive list, here are a few of the strongest ways that swimming can aid you on your fitness journey:

Swimming Effectively Increases Lung Capacity

The nature of swimming as an activity creates a very valuable byproduct – it naturally increases the capacity of your lungs to process oxygen and supply it to your muscles. Training in or under water forces your lungs to become stronger and more effective at this process, which in turn benefits your performance in a variety of settings and skills (not just swimming). Lung capacity and oxygen processing is a vital lynchpin to your performance in just about any physical activity.

Swimming Strengthens Muscles that are Difficult to Target with Other Types of Training

Swimming engages certain muscles and muscle groups differently than just about any other type of exercise. And especially when you vary your strokes or swimming techniques and employ multiple ways of moving through the water in your workout, this quality can become even more enhanced. Strengthening new muscles and muscle groups is an important way of improving your stability, keeping your muscles balanced, and supporting those muscle groups you use for other types of exercise as well.

Swimming Makes for a Fantastic “Pre-Hab” Activity

Including swimming in your workout routine can actually be an important method of keeping yourself safe from injury. Water’s density is almost 800 times that of air, and moving through it requires more strength and force. This reality makes it a highly beneficial activity for strengthening your joints, core, and other parts of your musculoskeletal system. This “pre-habilitation” measure can help you avoid injuries and overstress or overuse issues during your fitness journey.

Reasons for Learning and Improving Technical Swimming Technique

Especially for those who may have learned to swim when they were young, or have a basic idea of the strokes but have never engaged in competitive swimming, it might be surprising to learn that swimming is a highly technical activity. There is a fantastic amount of science behind the hydrodynamics, forms, movements, and strategies of swimming.

Any quality of swimming can create some fitness benefits. However, if you are interested in incorporating swimming as a more regular part of your fitness routine, it’s advisable to learn at least some basic technical swimming techniques. This will allow you to have more fun with swimming, accomplish more productive and dynamic workouts, and avoid any risk of injury or overstressing muscles by swimming with poor form.

Why a Swim Coach Can Be so Beneficial

If you plan to start swimming and simply want to “dip your foot in the water,” there are plenty of resources available to you that can help you test swimming out in your fitness routine. You can find good how-to videos on YouTube or elsewhere on the internet that can help you understand at least a basic idea of the strokes and practical how-to’s you’ll need to know to start improving your swimming techniques.

However, if you are more serious about swimming, or if you begin to see the benefits of swimming for your fitness journey and you want to make swimming a regular or substantial part of your exercise regimen, you may want to consider being coached. Swim coaches will obviously have substantial swimming experience and expertise to share with you. They can help you improve your form and technique. But even more beneficial, certified swim coaches or coaches with a degree such as exercise science, kinesthetics, or physical training will also be able to help you train in safe, effective ways and protect your body from harm or injury.

As with any type of physical activity, engaging in swimming – especially at a high volume or intensity – without using correct, safe form can create substantial risk of injury or physical damage. Injuries happen either at once or over time in the case of, for instance, a stress fracture. They can delay, halt, or even threaten your engagement in physical activity or exercise for good in severe cases.

Worse, just as dangerous as injuries are slow deteriorations or slow-onset damage caused by countless reps performed incorrectly over time. These kinds of problems are often only caught when they have become extensive or have gone on for months or years. They can often be difficult or impossible to reverse if they have been allowed to become moderate to severe. This risk makes having a coach who can help you prevent incorrect or unsafe form hugely beneficial for your long-term health.

Tips to Begin Including Swim Workouts in Your Exercise Routines

If you are ready to take the plunge, here are a few tips for incorporating swimming effectively into your fitness routine:

Start Slow

If you’ve never done any serious or fitness-minded swimming before, it’s ok to ease in. Start with a single easy day at the pool or waterfront to see what it is like. Get used to the routine, the equipment, and the process. Play around with different strokes and don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t feel natural right away.

Don’t Reinvent the Wheel

You don’t have to start from scratch or come up with an effective pool routine on your own (in fact, it’s definitely recommended that you don’t). Before you try out a pool day, look up a few instructional videos or talk to someone who swims regularly or for fitness to get some ideas.

Find a Buddy

One of the most motivating and successful methods for trying a new fitness activity can often be to do it with someone else. Have a friend, partner, family member, or coworker who would try coming to the pool with you or commit to a trial run? Bring them along. Not only will it motivate you, but they’ll probably get something out of it too.

Never Underestimate the Power of a Good Coach

As mentioned above, you can only get so far in any performance activity on your own. To get the full benefit of incorporating a new activity into your fitness routine, especially if it’s one you don’t have much experience with already, working with a swim coach to help you improve your form and technique can be a complete game-changer and make your swimming much more valuable and effective.