According to recent statistics produced by the Amateur Swimming Association one in five adults cannot swim. That is more than nine million people; a shocking number considering swimming is one of the nation’s favourite pastimes. Of these 2.3 millions want to learn to swim, according to the ASA.
The top reasons given for not swimming are:
- I never learnt as a child
- I am scared of the water
- I am prone to ear infections
- I cannot find a swimsuit I feel comfortable in.
Well it is never too late to learn and you can always find an instructor at your local pool who understands your fear and will be happy to teach you. There are plenty of earplugs or drops that can help prevent water getting in your ears. As for the problems finding appropriate swimwear many good clothing shops have a range of swimsuits that flatter and fit so go and try some on. No excuses!
It is more important that swimming becomes part of your lifestyle for your health and fitness.
Many people cycle or run to get fit but don’t think of swimming as another major route to a healthier lifestyle. Did you know that even a gentle swim can burn over 200 Kcal in half an hour and a fast front crawl can burn as many calories as an 8mph run?
Here are a few more health and fitness facts you may not know about swimming:
- Because water is about 800 times denser than air, you can work harder, and burn more calories, in a pool than out of it
- Female swimmers have been shown to experience significantly less tension, depression and anger after exercising than before.
- At least one in six people in Britain suffer from depression at any one time – rhythmic and aerobic forms of exercise such as swimming can improve psychological well being.
- Swimming can support up to 90% of the body’s weight in the water, meaning that those with disabilities, injuries or illnesses such as arthritis can take part in a comfortable and safe environment. It also means you gain a full body workout.
- The support of the water for arthritis sufferers allows less painful movements in affected joints as well as toning up the supporting muscles. Swimming can also reduce the risk of arthritis by helping to retain normal muscle strength and joint structure.
- Taking part in physical activity such as swimming can prevent diseases and conditions that cause loss of function in later life.
- Different swimming strokes challenge different muscles within the body so you can choose where you tone up.
- The pressure of water causes a shift of blood volume from the periphery of the body to the thorax. This increases venal pressure and so leads to a decrease in heart rate of up to 20bpm lower in water than on land. The same intensity of exercise at a lower heart rate. Only in the pool!