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8 Tips to improve your swim fitness

If fitness is your game, you can sometimes find you’re frustrated – or even worried – about the idea of plateauing; reaching a level of health where you can’t push yourself further. If this happens, it can be difficult to stay on track, whether that’s in the water, on the track, or in the gym.

However, there’s no need to worry. Fitness is all about challenging yourself by finding different ways to push yourself. If your passion lies in another sport or form of fitness, then swimming is the ideal way to break down your fitness boundaries in a different way to what you’re used to. These simple tips will help you to raise the bar with every swim session.

1. Set your goals
In order to keep to a fitness routine, you need to identify the incentive for doing so. Everyone's incentive is different, so take a moment to figure out and clarify the reasons behind your motivation, as this will support you when training gets tough. Many swimmers enjoy being able to bring focus back onto themselves during a swim, knowing that swimming will help them to treat their bodies right, and come out of the pool feel refreshed and fit.

2. Stretch it out
Being flexible is a crucial part of yoga training, and swimming can go a long way to helping improve flexion of the shoulders. However, if you want to swim to increase flexibility, make sure you stretch first to avoid injuries and increase muscle power.

3. Take a breath
Breathing plays a huge part in swimming, especially as your face is likely to be underwater a lot of the time. Getting into the routine of controlled breathing in the pool will be put to great use with other sports, from yoga to spinning classes and beyond. Swimming also provides a cardiovascular workout, something you may not get from other workouts, like weight training. Overall, your improved endurance is going to really help with holding those difficult workouts on land – from bodybuilding to yoga.

4. Vary your pace
Changing your swimming pace, from relaxed to full effort, is the perfect tactic. This allows you to build up your stamina, helping you last longer and tackle various goals, such as burning fat, improving lung capacity, and recovering from tougher sessions. Mix up your swim session even more by alternating your strokes, distance and routines; this helps you ensure that your swim will give you an all-encompassing workout in the water. It also allows you to hone in on specific goals.

5. Try out training aids
Mix up your swim routine by using a pullbuoy to isolate your shoulders, or use a kickboard to help your legs recover with some low-impact kick training, perfect after a tough day training whether at the gym on the road or on the bike. Swimming while wearing fins help you move faster, pushing your legs’ ability thanks to the increased resistance. It also feels great to go faster with some extra support!

6. Don't let work stop you
When work becomes hectic, try to incorporate exercise into your daily routine in small ways. For example, replace a short distance commute with some brisk walking, or choose to take the stairs instead of the lift. If possible, take 10-15 minutes out of your lunch hour to do a short high-intensity workout.

7. Focus on the core
To have a good technique in the water, your core must always be activated. It is the main area that gives you the correct body position, from the tips of your fingers to the tips of your toes. Try to maintain a good body position in the water, as this will immediately go to work at improving your core, boosting your stamina and strength for other fitness workouts.

8. Make a mental note
Similar to other non-team sports, swimming gives you an opportunity to relax your mind, which is crucial if you need to balance a busy lifestyle. When keeping fit, remember not just to focus on improving your physical fitness, but your mental well-being, also. A stressed mind can affect how you and your body feels, so don’t neglect your mental health.