I might be an outdoors enthusiast, someone who finds joy in being outside in nature, but there is a lot to be said for a good old indoor swim to start the week off right. I make an effort to swim on a Monday morning before I head into the office, and find that even with this once-a-week effort, my working day and the rest of the week feels better as a result. I was recently asked by Simply Swim to share a few thoughts on why setting my alarm a little bit earlier and heading to my local pool on the first working day of the week is worth it.
To make sure I have no excuses (well, fewer excuses), I pack my swim bag on a Sunday evening, add some extra snacks to my work bag, and set my alarm about 20 minutes earlier than usual to give me enough faffing time to make it to my local leisure centre in time to get 40-50 minutes in the water before work.
I know lots of people who choose to wild swim or use the local lido, and good on them – I do enjoy both (read about my wild swimming adventure with Wilderness Weekends), but the convenience of swimming in my local indoor pool is hard to beat for my pre-day-job-workout. It’s just a few minutes drive from my office and so I can get out of the pool at 8.30am and be at my desk for 9am (just!) – and there are warm changing rooms and decent showers to make sure I turn up to work looking as ready as I would if I’d have gone straight from home.
Sometimes it feels like I’m flying through the air, other times it’s more like wading through treacle, but I’ve never regretted that Monday morning effort… Here are six reasons I love my Monday morning lane swim…
Six Reasons I Swim Once a Week
01. It Works All my Muscles
Swimming uses all the muscles in my body, and even my gentle breaststroke provides me with a full body workout. I know it does because I ache all kinds of places the day after! And, apparently, exercising in water makes your body work harder so 30 minutes in a pool is worth 45 minutes of the same activity on land.
02. It Keeps Me Fit and Healthy
My weekly swim, alongside my generally balanced diet and other (outdoors) exercise, helps keep my heart and body fit and healthy. It’s so important to vary our exercise, and so while I walk – a lot – that isn’t enough to keep my muscles toned and my heart strong. Swimming just once a week gives my body that bit extra help.
03. It is Relaxing
You might think that a swim first thing on a Monday morning can’t possibly de-stress me, how can I be stressed at the end of the weekend? But the effects of my 40 minutes in the water last all day – and for several days. The fact is that I can’t think about anything other than swimming when I’m in the water; in order to swim successfully I must concentrate on my breathing, and that in itself is a great way to relax and clear the mind. Even when I work really hard to fit in as many lengths as I can in my time allowance, I always leave the pool relaxed. Swimming regularly is proven to lower stress levels, reduce anxiety and depression, and improve your sleep patterns – even when you swim as slow as I do.
04. It Means I Can Eat Cake
An hour of swimming burns almost as many calories as running. And while I don’t actually go swimming for the calorie burn, I do know I can enjoy my food a bit more on the days when I go. A gentle swim can burn over 200 calories in half an hour, and while I love walking, it takes an hour to meet the same numbers. If you swim faster than me then a chocolate bar can be earnt quicker than if you went running or cycling. So if you are in it for the weight loss, then get yourself in the pool.
05. It Doesn’t Hurt
I’ve always had issues with my knees and ankles, but the low impact nature of swimming means that – unlike running – swimming doesn’t hurt. Not while you’re doing it, anyway! I’m told that the water supports up to 90% of the body’s weight, which makes it the perfect way to be active without straining your muscles. And I’d add in here that you don’t sweat while you swim, which I know puts a lot of people off running or cycling, especially in the summer.
06. It Wakes Me Up
Did you know that inactivity is the main reason people lack energy? It might seem counterproductive to go out an exercise when you are feeling tired, but it is often true that not being active makes you more tired. This is another reason I choose to swim first thing on a Monday morning, I find it wakes me up and helps keep my energy levels higher for the rest of the working week.
I know I only swim once a week (it’s not my only form of exercise), but I still feel like that provides me with all of these benefits and more. Maybe I should try and go twice a week now?!
Do you swim regularly? What is the one reason that gets you in your swimmers and into the pool?
This post is an advert for Simply Swim (affiliate link), who have a huge selection of swimwear and equipment for leisure and more serious indoor and outdoor swimmers (and I am a genuine customer…).