Regardless of your age or fitness level, swimming is a phenomenal full-body workout that has a host of physical and mental benefits, such as increased muscle tone and strength, assistance with fat loss and a reduction in stress. So why not start swimming today?

“Swimming acts as an excellent form of calorie burning for fat loss and general health,” explains SUSF Exercise Scientist Tim Leahy. “Regular swimming can serve as a great cross training element in conjunction with regular land based training programs. Passive lap swimming is a great recovery protocol.”

Courtesy of Sydney Uni’s Olympic swimming coaches Grant Stoelwinder and Scott Talbot, here are 6 great tips that will help you kick-start your swimming program just in time for winter.

1. Include swimming with other exercise
Try and include other forms of exercise with swimming, such as going to the gym, running/walking, triathlon training or playing a sport. Swimming can be a great form of recovery or can be used as ‘off-day’ training.

2. Find a swimming buddy
Swimming is a lot of more fun when you do it with someone else. It also helps you to develop a commitment to training together each session, which means you’ll be less likely to miss a session. If you can’t find a buddy, then join a swimming squad at your local pool.

3. Interval training works best
Interval training – which is great for fat-burning – helps you to establish your swimming pace, which then allows you to set goals. Interval training consists of high intensity work (e.g. swim a 50m lap in 45 seconds), followed by a low intensity work (e.g. rest for 20 seconds), in a repeating routine (e.g. complete 10 laps). Use this as a guide. Once you improve then reduce your cycle by 5 seconds. 

4. Try a private lesson
Even a 30 minute private lesson will assist you greatly with stroke correction and set you on the right path. Learning some stroke drills will help you incorporate some of these lessons into your own program.

5. Different strokes for different folks
Don’t restrict yourself to swimming freestyle. Start off with a stroke that you are most comfortable with. Some people are more suited to breaststroke, while others hate backstroke because they aren’t very good at it. But the key is to mix it up! 

6. Be committed, but don’t force it
Try and start swimming twice a week and then build it up from there. 30 minutes is usually the ideal amount of time to spend in the water but fit swimming in when you can, like after you drop the kids off at school or before you head into work or uni.

For information on one of the many swimming programs run at SUSF, please click here.  

Check out the SUSF swimming pool timetable.