As well as being lots of fun, swimming is a great way to increase your activity levels and start reaping the rewards of moving more. And because Slimming World’s Body Magic activity programme encourages small, achievable steps to a more active lifestyle, every dip counts towards a fitter, healthier you. If you’re ready to take the plunge, join us on a dive into the what, why, where, when, and how of swimming!
MORE ON THE BLOG: Whether you’re taking your first step or you already have an active lifestyle, you’ll find plenty of practical help to build your fitness, including:
What: Swimming needs very little introduction! It’s an activity open to everyone, whatever your age, size or fitness level. If you can’t swim, it’s never too late to learn, as many pools offer swimming lessons for adults, on a one-to-one basis.
Top tip: Swimming is especially good for people with joint or mobility problems, as the water supports up to 90% of your body weight.
Why: There are so many health and fitness benefits to swimming – it really is brilliant Body Magic. It…
- burns energy (more than walking for the same amount of time!)
- helps tone the body and build strength
- can help to reduce stress
- works every major muscle group
- can give a great cardio workout
- can help improve coordination, balance, posture and flexibility
It can even help reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease!
Top tip: Vary your strokes to get the best full-body benefits:
- breaststroke really works the legs
- upper back and abdominals get a good workout from backstroke
- front crawl works the shoulders and arms
- butterfly gives a great full-body workout for advanced swimmers!
Slimming World member Ruby found that swimming helped with the symptoms of fibromyalgia and scoliosis.
“Swimming improved my fitness, supported my weight loss and helped me manage my pain, so I didn’t feel the need to comfort myself with food.”
Where: The obvious choice is a local pool. Many council-run leisure centres boast swimming pools – and you’ll also find private pools, often as part of a gym complex. You can use Poolfinder or Swim Ireland to find your nearest. Other options include open pools (lidos) and open water swimming in rivers, lakes or the sea, although it goes without saying that only very confident swimmers should take a swim on the wild side!
Top tip: If wild swimming sounds up your street, the safest bet is to join a wild swimming club and choose somewhere that has an area sectioned off for safer wild swimming.
When: Most pools are open from early morning until late at night, giving you lots of leeway to find a time that works for you. It’s not advisable to swim on a full stomach, so timing your swims before mealtimes will mean you can quickly satisfy the appetite you’ve just worked up.
Top tip: If you’re worried about swimming – or being in swimwear – in front of others, call the pool to find out the quieter times (go really early morning and you may find you have the pool to yourself!). Many pools also offer same-sex swimming sessions.
How: One of the great things about swimming is that you don’t need any fancy equipment – all you really need is water (although, don’t forget the swimwear!). There’s a variety of different strokes to choose from, and you might also find swim-based fitness classes such as aqua fitness, aqua jogging, aqua stretch, aqua dance or aqua Zumba. Classes are a fun way to try a type of exercise while minimising the impact on your joints – the resistance of the water slows the pace but can actually increase the benefits of the workout. (There are currently differing restrictions on fitness classes across the UK – your local pool will be able to let you know what’s available near you.)
Remember, no one can see you in the water. If you’re worried about the walk from the changing rooms, take your towel or a towelling dressing gown to the side of the pool. Many pools have hooks, rails or spectator chairs, so you can leave your towel close by (although Covid-19 safety restrictions may mean that these aren’t available at the moment, so it’s a good idea to check before you book).
Top tip: Choosing swimwear that you feel comfortable in can also help with any waterside worries. You’ll find a wide variety of flattering, comfortable swimwear in the shops and online – with some ranges that include tankinis, t-shirts, long-sleeve tops, skirts, shorts, leggings and all-in-ones.
Hitting her slimming goals gave Zoe (@swgoldenzoe) the confidence to wear her one-piece while taking a seaside dip with friends. She says:
“I would never have worn a swimming costume on the beach before I lost 4st! Slimming World has given me a whole new life full of a lot more confidence!”
Covid-19: What to expect?
If you’re thinking about giving swimming a go, or are looking forward to returning to your local pool again, it’s worth calling ahead to find out how they’re approaching Covid-safe swimming. For example, you may be required to book a swimming slot in advance, and it could be lane-swimming only (to aid social distancing). You might also find that some facilities, such as hairdryers, may be out of action.
What is Body Magic?
Slowly increasing your activity levels alongside following our Food Optimising plan is a great way to give your weight loss and your wellbeing a boost. Anything that gets you a bit out of breath and your heart beating faster can bring health benefits that can transform how you feel – so we call it Body Magic!
The beauty of Body Magic is that there’s something for every level of ability and fitness. If you’re just starting out, go slowly by adding gentle activity to your day. Once you feel more confident and comfortable, step it up a gear with something more challenging.
Slimming World real-life groups are now reopening, and they’re the perfect place to find out more about Body Magic and the Slimming World eating plan, Food Optimising.