Getting started with swimming
Whether you want to go for a swim every now and then or you want to start regularly going, everyone can find their own way to enjoy swimming.
Swimming is a brilliant way to keep active as it gives you an all-round workout, working almost every part of your body. It is also a great way to relax. You may also find it rewarding as you can find something to focus on e.g. finishing a length of the pool, and feeling the accomplishment afterwards.
Check out our top tips for getting started with swimming below. Remember, there’s no ‘wrong’ or ‘right’ way – it’s just about finding what works best for you and your lifestyle!
Before you start
Before you get in the pool, you want to make sure you have the right swimming gear. A pair of goggles will be sure to come in handy and make the experience more enjoyable; try these on beforehand so you know they are right for you.
It sounds simple but the right swimwear is also essential; ensure it has the comfort and support you need. You may also want a swimming cap; this is something that you may find useful as it can save you time with not needing to dry your hair afterwards.
If you aren’t already familiar with which swimming pools are local to you, check out Swim England’s Pool Finder. You can filter the search by session type, available facilities and accessibility.
You can get into swimming cheaply by becoming a member at your local leisure centre and most also offer a pay-as-you-go option. Most pools also offer adults only sessions. Check out the different available times and have a think what would suit you. Whether it’s in the morning, on the weekend or on your lunch break, it’s whatever works best for you.
Remember it’s never too late to start swimming. Most pools offer sessions for a range of abilities and age groups, as well as different needs such as women-only classes and parent-and-toddler groups.
If you are interested in Para-swimming, contact your local swimming pool to find out what sessions they offer.
Deciding on the type of stroke you will swim with is an important step; if you are unsure, don’t be afraid to try out the different strokes and find which one suits you. You may even want to switch between different strokes depending on how you feel that day, or just for variation. Check out Swim England’s advice for different swimming strokes.
You may want to try some exercises in the swimming pool before you get started with swimming, or in between swimming lengths. Just Swim has some useful ideas for in pool exercises.
You can use some of these pool exercises or any others you may think of to warm up before you get started with swimming lengths. If you are wanting to ease into swimming, you could then try doing a length or two to warm up and having breaks. Remember, as you are getting into swimming, it doesn’t matter if you aren’t doing lots of lengths or spending a large amount of time in the pool. You can build upon this gradually.
Make sure you finish with a cool down. This could consist of some easy swimming and some gentle stretches.
Everything takes time to get used to and getting into swimming is something that you can do at your own pace. Try scheduling it in by putting it in your diary or using your phone calendar to set reminders.
You may want to begin by going a few times a month, and then gradually stepping it up over time to once a week, and so on. The amount of time you spend swimming is also something which you can do at your own pace. Remember consistency is key, but make sure you don’t push yourself too hard and allow yourself breaks between each session to rest.
Don’t be put off by how many lengths the person next to you may be doing. Remember, everyone’s bodies are different and we all have to start somewhere; it’s all about your personal journey with swimming.
Set goals to keep yourself motivated
Over time you may find it difficult to keep motivated with swimming or you may start to get a bit bored of it. Try to set yourself a goal to aim to such as an amount of lengths, a personal best time to beat and so on.
Set a new one once you’ve reached that goal. Remember, these can be small steps; it’s important to recognise achievements. You will soon start to see progress and can look back at what you have managed to achieve; be proud of yourself!