I’ve been having swimming lessons since I was 5 or 6 years old. I had lessons for about 10 years growing up, and competed for my city and county. I’ve played other sports since, but swimming was the first. I used to train competitively when I was a lot younger, but have since found that it’s also a great way to relieve stress (especially when the pool is empty!).When I was younger swimming was fairly easy. But after uni, I found it really hard to make time to swim. I started commuting to work, and just didn’t have the hours in the day to fit a few lengths in. Whilst commuting I put on a bit of weight and I decided I needed something to pull me out of a cycle of getting on and off trains, and eating.
Picking up swimming again after a few years was a bit tricky, especially trying to master butterfly stroke again. You lose some technique if you’re out of the water for a while. I’ve mastered it again now, and found that a few lengths each week has really improved my everyday stamina levels.
Swimming can be really therapeutic, and getting in the pool after a long day really pays off for both body and mind. But I also regularly play netball, competing and training at a local level. I also love playing hockey, football and regularly go to the gym. My favourite class is spinning as the music really motivates me to push myself further!
Whilst I love playing team sports, when I swim it’s just about me and my stamina. The harder I work the more benefits I see, and I feel so proud of myself when I beat personal bests or get in the pool and push myself even if I’m tired. It can sometimes be easier to just get in the gym and get on the treadmill, as swimming requires much more time getting changed after. If I realise I haven’t swam in a while, I’ll head down on a day off and spend a morning doing a few lengths. It’s also harder to swim if I’ve just dyed my hair! Strange, I know, but I have blonde hair which can sometimes go a bit green if it’s soaked in chlorine too often. I feel more chilled out after a swimming session. I can sleep easier, and I work out my whole body – rather than just focusing on one muscle group.
Thinking about trying swimming? Do it. Get stuck in! Swimming is great if you’re recovering from injury or an operation, as the water supports you and relieves any impact stress you might experience in other activities. Just go at your own pace, and you’ll soon start reaping the benefits.