March 10 2020
Swimming is part of the sporting fabric of Australia. We are an island nation that has a rich history of water safety and competitive sporting success that spans across decades.
Swimming is almost incomparable for it’s benefits for health and well being. Initially most of us are introduced to the water to learn to swim so that we can be safe throughout our lives.
Whether your swimming journey started and ending at learning to swim or continues to this day, we thought it was important to take a look at one of Australia’s favourite activities for what it might be able to do for you.
Swimming for Safety
Learning to swim and water safety is so important for all Australians. Unfortunately, drowning is the third leading cause of unintentional death from injury worldwide. Australia saw 276 people drown in 2018. It is difficult to estimate the exact effects of swimming lessons on decreasing drowning risk but a recent UK study suggested it could be as high as 88% for children between one and four years of age. Learning about being water safe at an early age enables children to feel confident and safe around water and sets the foundation for water safety throughout life.
Ideally by the time a child is four, they should be able to enter and leave the water safely as well as float and move through the water and control their breathing. A great article on The Conversation Website about water safety can be found here.
Swimming for Exercise and Fitness
As a form of exercise, there are such a long list of benefits that if we listed them all you would be …. swimming in facts! So to spare you from a long list, and any more poor jokes, this nice graphic can give you a feel for how good it can be;
A recent report commissioned by Swim England found that swimmers live longer than non swimmers and that regular swimming helps older people stay mentally and physically fit.
Some of the most recent statistics suggest swimming;
- Reduces the risk of early death by 28%
- Reduces the risk of death due to heart disease and stroke by 41%
- Lowers blood pressure and can reduce joint pain
- Improves hearth health, lung capacity and bone strength
Swimming is also a fantastic way to get back into exercise for those wanting to ease into it or for those that are a little frightened to do exercise that impacts on their joints. It also appears, from the latest research, that it is an exercise that people stick with. Approximately half of people who try a new exercise program give up within a few months. People who take up swimming tend to stick with it long term.
Another huge benefit of swimming is that it is an all over workout! Swimming uses your lower body and core whilst you kick but also uses your back and upper limbs to propel you through the water. You only have to look at the physique of the best swimmers in the world to realise that swimming gives you an all over body workout!
Why put it off any longer! Swimming is also a hug calorie burner when compared to other exercise. Up to 200 calories can be burnt in 30 minutes of swimming which is twice the amount burnt in a similar amount of walking!
So How Do I Get Started
Because swimming is relatively low resistance and there is not a lot of impact to your joints, it is a really safe exercise to just jump in and have a go at.
If you are a complete novice, start with 30 minutes and see how your body responds. It is a good idea to try and have a rest day between sessions initially so you can see how your body pulls up and then reload the following day. If you tolerate 30 minutes then look to increase your time or distance by about 10-20% each week. This will allow you to see progress but not overload your body and get injured and sore.
Getting some tips on your technique is also a good way to injury proof yourself when you begin. It can also help you be more efficient and enjoy it more. Our friends at the SA Aquatic and Leisure Centre have staff that can take you through lessons. You can also contact our friends at Swimming SA to find out where you can locate a coach to get some tips on making your stroke more like Kyle Chalmers!! David was happy when he asked the big guy for a few tips …
So if you need to pick up some exercise or the thing you started in January is wearing thin, grab some goggles and a pair of bathers and get in the water!
We are sure it will go swimmingly!!