A couple years ago, I dreaded every minute in the pool. The whole environment felt like an alien world – being wet, having to work to keep myself afloat, and struggling with the fact that I couldn’t catch my breath in the water. I was determined to tackle a new sport, though, and the first step was jumping in.
Fast forward a few years, and I’m in the water every day swimming like a pro and enjoying every minute of it. I look forward going to the pool – I feel comfortable in the water, and it’s my chance to get in a good workout and focus on the water and nothing else. That feeling didn’t come on the first day, but taking up swimming was one of the best choices I have made and I’ve never looked back.
And while the pool is never empty, I’m always surprised at how many people are wary of giving swimming a try. In many cases, it’s simply because they don’t know about all the ways that swimming can make a positive difference in your lifestyle. In fact, one of the only downsides to swimming is that it can be too addictive!
So if you’re on the fence about getting in the pool, or looking to take up a new sport and thinking about swimming as an option, here are a couple ways that swimming can have a big impact on your life. I hope they motivate you to dive in!
Benefits of swimming
What type of swimming is right for you?
Since I’m confident you’ll want to jump into the nearest pool now that you know how great swimming can be for your lifestyle, the next thing to find out is what type of swimming is right for you. There are a couple different strokes out there, each requiring a different level of skill, scooting you across the pool at different speeds, and sapping energy at different rates.
The most popular stroke by far, practiced by 82% of swimmers, is the backstroke. The backstroke won’t get you anywhere fast – it’s the slowest stroke among those most commonly practiced – but the benefit to this stoke is that it takes very little skill to get started with it and doesn’t require much energy. That means that you can swim backstroke for hours without getting tired, making it perfect when you just want to go for an easy swim.
The breaststroke is the next most popular stroke, and it provides a more balanced combination of speed, effort, and skill. The stroke is still easy to learn, and will get you across the pool at a moderate pace, but will also leave you tired much sooner than the backstroke.
Less than half of all swimmers practice the crawl, also known as freestyle, and even fewer the butterfly. These strokes are extremely fast, but also require much more skill than either the backstroke or breaststroke – particularly the butterfly. Both will also leave you tired quickly, so don’t expect to swim for hours with either of these strokes.
While I didn’t originally get into swimming for all of the benefits it holds, I’ve certainly been enjoying them since I first jumped in the water. It’s hard to turn down an easy way to increase your health and fitness and become more productive, and you’ll wonder why you never took up the sport sooner once you’ve found a stroke that works for you. I hope to see you in the next lane over soon!