Up your motivation and see what works in the pool by exploring ways of measuring positive change. This article widens the usual understanding of benchmarking.
Why Mind, Body and Swim Are Your Elements to Success
Swim regularly and you will see a difference, both physically and mentally. Don’t let those changes pass you by. Start the year by measuring yourself. Not just with a measuring tape and lap times (although they work, too) but think about your attitude to swimming and how you feel afterwards. As swimmers, we all know that feeling you get following a great swim.
Life is better when you feel mentally and physically energised. And things really go up a gear when you can see the results with your own eyes.
Here are the best ways to track your progress:
Here are some more ways you can tell your swimming is working.
Your speed improves
One of the most popular ways to track your progress is by taking a regular benchmarking or time trial test. One of the simplest is to swim as fast as you can for 5 minutes (time yourself on your wearable or the pool clock), then record your distance. Do this test every three to four weeks to see how you progress over time.
You bust some stress
The focus needed during swimming means you’ll be encouraged to quieten those disrupting thoughts and concentrate on working your way through the water. Begin by being aware of your breathing – the air filling your lungs and flowing out again. Even if you feel mindful for just a few seconds at a time, the swim will be working its magic.
You feel great afterwards
Once you’re back in the changing room and then outside again, the post-swim high will further lift your mood, courtesy of the release of endorphins. These are believed to help ease symptoms of depression and lower the perception of pain.
You get stronger
Over time swimming will strengthen the muscles across your whole body, giving support to your musculoskeletal system and improving your flexibility. Not only will this help improve your swimming, you’ll also feel the benefits in other sports, too. To supercharge results, mix in some drills, aqua-fit classes and new challenges. The Speedo On has new challenges every month, so you can compete against other swimmers like you. Consider training aids too. Basic items such as pullbuoys and kickboards will mean you can home in on specific muscle groups.
Your metabolism gets faster
A morning swim will kick-start your metabolism for the rest of the day. Just make sure you satisfy your increased appetite with the right kind of fuel. Post-pool snacks and meals should combine carbs and protein at a ratio of 1:3. Michelle Abrahall, who swims twice a week, snacks on peanut butter on toast afterwards: ‘It’s quick to make, fills me up and keeps me going.’
You lose weight and your body changes shape
When it comes to burning calories, butterfly and breaststroke will torch the most, thanks to their use of the whole body. Cutting down on rest periods will have an impact, too. Bodyshape-wise, it doesn’t have to be all bathroom scales and tape measures. You might simply keep an eye on how well your jeans and other clothes fit. It’s whatever works best for you.