Weekly schedule full to the brim? When life gets busy with work, errands and the school run, exercise can easily fall by the wayside. Here’s how to fit swimming into your week – no scary lifestyle changes necessary.
Set your alarm earlier
It’s not ground-breaking news, but getting your swim in first thing in the morning sets you up for healthy habits for the rest of the day. Initially it might be a struggle to get up earlier, but stick with it for 30 days and you’re well on your way to making rising earlier a habit. Pack your kit and clothes the night before so you can get up and go. Find it tough? Persuading your partner or flatmate to rise and shine with you makes an early start much easier.
Make it social
Always make time for a weekly get together with a friend? Switching your catch-up venue to the pool is an easy way to fit in a fitness session. Sign up for aqua Zumba™ or aqua aerobics with your friend, or work on swimming drills together and set each other challenges. Then grab a coffee to-go on your way out. With a workout partner, you’re more likely to make your swim a permanent fixture in your diary.
Exercise while your kids have lessons
Got young children who have unaccompanied swimming lessons? Use this otherwise unproductive time to get your swim in. Most pools have a small teaching pool, with a full range of lessons available from beginners upwards, so you can leave the children to learn a vital life skill while you get your swim on.
Kids not in lessons? Take them swimming with you anyway. Create challenges for them, such as diving down and retrieving toys from the bottom of the pool, or attempt relay races and games. You can tread water or run on the spot while they play – just make your role as active as possible for maximum fitness benefits!
Think outside your local pool
When it comes to fitting a swim into a busy schedule, it’s all about thinking outside the box. So the pool closest to home just isn’t close enough? What about a pool that’s close to work? Or your grocery shop, after-school club or childminder’s house? Getting a quick swim in doesn’t have to mean swimming at the pool closest to your house, before or after work.
Join the HIIT squad
High intensity interval training (HIIT) is a busy swimmer’s best friend, and allows you to get maximum bang for your swimming buck. If you can work hard, at close to maximum effort, either by swimming as fast as you can, treading water quickly or running on the spot, knees high, for 20-30 seconds, you can benefit. Even a 20-minute HIIT session provides all the fitness benefits you need, improving your cardiovascular fitness, endurance and fat-burning. Work as hard as possible for up to 30 seconds, then rest or reduce to a moderate pace for 15 seconds (you may need a longer rest, initially) before repeating as many times as you can.
Make swimming part of wind-down ritual
Could you be doing more for your health than winding down every evening in front of the TV? A good swim can be the perfect way to unwind after a busy day at work or a day with tetchy toddlers (or teenagers!). Make it all the more relaxing with a chill-out in the sauna afterwards or a coffee at the pool café.
Convinced you can fit in a swim yet? Swimming not only benefits your health, but your mood too, as it creates the feel-good hormones responsible for making us feel happy.
Race you to the pool…