SWIM AWAY STRESS
Going for a swim won’t just improve your cardiovascular fitness, it will also lower your blood pressure, according to a study published in the American Journal Of Cardiology. Subjects in the study were split into two groups: one completed a 12-week swimming programme while the other did gentle relaxation exercises. The swimmers experienced an average reduction in systolic (the top figure) blood pressure from 131 to 122 while the control group got no significant benefit.
Lower your stress levels to feel more calm while also improving your fitness with these swimming tips from Dan Bullock, former Team GB triathlete and head coach at Swim For Tri coaching (swimfortri.co.uk).
1 SWIMMING POOL
The pool is where most people do most of their swimming but that doesn’t mean they’re doing it right. “Good swimming is all about great technique so keep your legs straight when kicking to stay streamlined and avoid fatigue,” says Bullock. “Power comes from the hips through straight legs for an efficient and powerful stroke.” Safety first “Goggles are essential kit in communal pools to prevent sore eyes,” says Bullock.
2 OPEN WATER
More UK lakes are being opened up for swimmers. “Lakes are great for longerdistance training as well as practice for open-water races,” says Bullock. “Focus on keeping your torso stable and not rotating too much to the sides when breathing.” Safety first “Most swim lakes run as businesses have kayak patrols and buoys and markers for quick sighters,” says Bullock. “Always wear a brightlycoloured swim cap to ensure you’re easily seen.”
Swimming at sea can break the monotony of the pool. “A lot of races are in the sea so you need to be used to the lack of sighters and the potentially rough conditions,” says Bullock. “Stay parallel to the shore and do your research about the potential hazards, such as riptides.” Safety first “Never take risks with sea swimming – don’t go in alone and tell people where you are,” says Bullock. “If a red flag is flying don’t swim even if you’re a strong swimmer.”