Move your workouts to the pool this summer with our easy tips – we promise we won’t throw you in at the deep end!
It’s easy to get stuck in a rut with your training – while effective, the usual treadmill and dumbbells combination can become a bit repetitive. So, this summer, why not leave the gym behind and head for the water instead? Swimming gives you a full body workout, especially your upper body and core in comparison to other sports and you’ll be less likely to get injured. Not only that, but you’ll also increase your flexibility, reduce your mortality risk and improve your mental wellbeing. It’s a great slimming tool too, as Zoe Liokalou-Lensbury, swim coordinator at Swimming Nature (swimmingnature.com) explains. “Swimming at a medium intensity is great for weight loss when combined with a calorie controlled diet. No other workout burns calories, boosts metabolism and firms every muscle in your body without putting stress on your joints.” To help you on your way, we’ve got expert tips and tricks for when you’re in the pool, plus some easy workout plans.
Annie Emmerson, Speedo coach and former ITU triathlete and duathlete (speedo.co.uk), gives us a rundown of the four main swimming strokes and reveals which ones are best for burning calories These figures are based on the amount of calories a 46-yearold female weighing 70kg will burn if swimming for 30 minutes at a steady pace.
Burns 213 calories* “This is often the preferred stroke of seasoned swimmers. It uses alternating arm movements with an above water recover, while your legs kick to help stabilise you body in the water. This is the fastest and most efficient stroke, so you'll work your cardiovascular system longer and harder than the other moves. It'll give you a great overall body workout as it uses nearly every part of your body.”
Burns 176 calories* “The backstroke kick is a flutter kick, which means that your legs alternatively kick up and down. The advantages of this stroke are that it's more powerful than breaststroke and, as you perform it facing upwards, breathing issues are avoided. It's a good remedy for back problems and is the best stroke for recovery.”
Burns 195 calories* “This stroke is an excellent body workout, but you may find that you can't hold the same intensity as you would for front crawl. The arms stroke phases include a recovery forward, an outsweep, an insweep where your hands meet below your chest and then recovery. All arm and leg movements occur below or at the water's surface and you can keep your head above water.”
Burns 507 calories* “This is both the most exciting to watch and the most difficult of the basic strokes. It's quickly tiring as it requires a lot of strength and is also difficult to learn, as you need both an excellent wave-like body undulation and perfect timing for arm recovery to occur. That said, once mastered it's an incredible all over body workout and will give you great upper body strength and tone.”