NHS Sport and Physical Activity
Meeting the NHS Challenge to get more staff active by 2012
Why go swimming?
Over 3 million people go swimming once a week and 1 in 3* kids say it’s their favourite family activity. And even doing a steady breaststroke in the pool for 30 minutes can burn over 200 calories, as water makes your body work a little harder. So why not exercise in the pool instead of the gym?
Shape up and tone
Regular swimming is a great activity for contributing to weight loss, improving body tone and increasing fitness. When using the correct technique, swimming can give you a fantastic all-over body workout. If you are recovering from an injury, suffering from arthritis, carrying excess weight or are pregnant, swimming is the perfect way to exercise – the support of the water greatly reduces stress on joints.
Being in the water is a wonderful way to unwind from a busy or stressful day. The rhythm of your stroke, the floating sensation and the weightlessness of the water can be very meditative. Try finishing off a gym session with a dip in the pool too.
It’s clean, convenient and cheap
Your local pool is likely to have lanes available for fitness swimming at most times during the day too, so you’ll be able to fit a swim in to your daily routine. Look online or pop into your local pool for a timetable. And lastly, a trip to the swimming pool will only cost you around £5 (plus £1 for the locker that you’ll usually get back anyway)!
Rather than just swimming up and down when you go to your local pool, pick up a Swimfit activity card and give your swim some structure. Swimfit, powered by British Gas, can help you plan your swim depending on your motivations, whether you are training to swim the Channel or just trying to lose weight – it’s like a gym programme but in the pool. Find out more at www.swimfit.com
Whatever kind of exercise you like, you’ll find a class that suits you at your local pool. For fans of aerobics there’s Aquafit – an instructor-led waterbased aerobics class to music. Love jogging? Try Aqua Jog, with all the benefits of jogging without the shock impact to your joints. And if you go to the gym, see if your local pool runs a Gym n’ Swim session and jump in after your workout.
Holidays and family fun
The really great thing about swimming is that the whole family can enjoy it together, from grandparents to babies and everyone in between! Holidays are a fantastic time to all get in the pool or sea together too, give it a go – it will let you enjoy your holidays more than ever and you’ll be investing in a family pack of snorkels in no time.
Want a greater challenge?
Then take part in a British Gas Great Swim. It’s a real challenge and is one-mile in an outdoor location – go to www.greatswim.org for the latest event information. Outdoor swimming is becoming increasingly popular, with races happening in great locations all over the UK.
To go back to the NHS Sport and Physical Activity website, click here.
*From YouGov survey carried out on behalf of British Gas Feb 2010. Based on 31% of 899 respondents choosing swimming from a selection of activities.