Consider your fitness goal – weight loss, improved speed and performance, or a mental refresh. Then figure out the best time to schedule your trip to the pool.
When is the Best Time of Day to Go Swimming?
Before long, trips to the pool can become a favourite part of your weekly routine. But is there a best time of day to go swimming? It depends on your goals. Arguably you should pull on your swimwear before breakfast if you want to lose weight. Whereas if you’re hankering for a mental refresh it might be better to save the trip until later. Ultimately, it’s about understanding your own needs and body clock.
Swimming before breakfast
Forgo that extra sleep in favour of an early-morning dip and you’ll not just be rewarded with a great start, you’ll enjoy a boosted metabolism for the rest of the day too. So if you’re in weight-loss mode, consider this your chance; by swimming on an empty stomach you’ll encourage your body to use up fat reserves to keep itself going. Chances are the pool will be less busy too.
The drawback to an early swim? Your muscles and joints will be relatively stiff. Take care to warm up properly before launching into that front crawl or butterfly stroke.
It’s been a long morning. There’s an even longer afternoon ahead. Nip out to the swimming lanes to refresh your mind and soul with a few gentle lengths. It might be tricky to find enough time but the benefits are worth their weight in energy gold. The trick? Make sure your swim bag is organised with enough pockets for a slick operation in the changing room.
Swimming during the afternoon
When it comes to facing the mid-afternoon slump, swimming scores huge points. If you expect to be lacking the ‘get up and go’ factor, book yourself into an aqua-fit or Zumba™ class or arrange to meet a friend.
Or maybe you could wait until 5pm or 6pm? Studies suggest that most of us fare better when training in the late afternoon or early evening. By this time our muscles have reached their peak warmth and so perform with more ease.
The downside is that the pool might be busier. Depending on your area, kids may well have begun their after-school takeover.
Swimming during the evening
Sometimes the only redeeming feature of a stressful day is the feeling of slipping into the pool afterwards. An evening workout can encourage your mind to slow down – swimming’s meditative quality allowing for quiet reflection.
Another bonus is you might be afforded a deeper night’s sleep. Just be aware, intense workouts right before bed can mess with your body clock. Be sure to finish your swim at least an hour earlier.
How long to wait to swim after eating?
Did you grow up hearing that you should leave an hour between eating and swimming, otherwise you’ll get stitch and indigestion? It seems the jury is still out on this notion. No evidence suggests you should wait that long although it does depend on what you eat. Complex carbs take longer to break down, while other foods, such as beans and lentils, can make you feel bloated in the water.