When people decide it’s time to get active and start exercising, the first thing that comes to mind is most likely jogging. They head to the local sports shop and pick up a pair of running shoes and either head down to the North Inch or hit the treadmill at the gym. Some might even consider cycling, either on their bike or perhaps a spin-class at Bell’s Sports Centre. It’s less common though, for people to consider taking up swimming as a way to keep fit and healthy.
However, getting yourself in the pool and doing regular lengths has multiple health benefits. It’s a fantastic calorie burner, helps to reduce stress levels and lowers your risk of a host of different diseases. It’s a low-impact exercise too but at the same time it strengthens muscle, helps you to sleep better at night and can help boost your overall mood. All of this without getting hot and sweaty in a gym too!
The pool is not just for the likes of Michael Phelps and Perth’s own Olympic silver-medallist, Stephen Milne. With lanes available for swimming in Perth, Blairgowrie, Kinross, Aberfeldy and Crieff, Live Active Leisure has you covered when it comes to getting fit in the water.
And with all of the health benefits that come with getting yourself into the pool, why not swap the running shoes and Lycra cycling shorts for your swimming costume and goggles?
Swimming gives you a full body workout. Whether you’re doing a gentle breaststroke or go full out with the butterfly, it works a range of different muscle groups all at the same time. Also, exercising in the water makes your muscles work harder than on dry land. So 30 minutes in the pool is like working out for 45 minutes in the gym – bonus!
Getting those lengths in is also a fantastic way of burning calories faster. Even a gentle swim can burn up to 200 calories in half an hour, more than double the amount than you would burn by walking. A swim at a reasonable pace would burn more than running or cycling. Just remember, don’t swim after you’ve just eaten your dinner, better to do that after you’ve dried off.
Another great benefit of swimming is that it lowers your risk of disease. People who swim regularly have a lower risk of having heart disease, having a stroke or being diagnosed with type-2 diabetes. People who swim regularly have a lower risk of having heart disease, having a stroke or being diagnosed with type-2 diabetes. Just 30 minutes of swimming, three times per week, will significantly lower your risk of having any of the above while also maintaining a healthy diet.
There’s a reason why swimming is so popular with athletes who’re recovering from long-term injury. The water supports up to 90 percent of your body weight which means that for example, if you’ve sprained your ankle during a kickabout with your mates or while you’ve been out for a run, then swimming is a great way to stay active while you’re waiting for your injury to heal.
Lastly, jumping into the water is just great for your general wellbeing. Just 30 minutes of swimming up to three times per week helps your mental health and can improve your mood, giving you a more positive outlook on life. It helps with relaxation and can relieve stress after a hard day at work. It’s proven that swimming regularly can reduce anxiety and depression while improving your sleeping pattern. And that can all come from just a gentle swim so you don’t need to be pounding the water doing those lengths at great speed to get those mental benefits!
So if you’re looking for a way to get fit and don’t feel too inspired by slogging it in the gym or going out for a run then why not try swimming? With all of those fantastic health benefits and some fantastic venues throughout Perthshire in which to do it, you’d be silly not to give it a go. Go on, dive in!
For more information on the different venues and their swimming programmes, visit the Live Active website.
Niall McGill has been a professional golfer for over 25 years, and has established a reputation for being the region's go-to man to improve your game.
Perth Strathtay Harriers has been providing the kids and adults of Perthshire with fantastic opportunities to get involved in athletics since the 1940s and currently train at the George Duncan Athletics Arena weekly.
November 12th Sunday 2017
If you're looking for a low-impact exercise which can help you lose weight and improve your cardiovascular fitness then perhaps cycling would be perfect for you. Find out about the benefits and maybe you could make it your New Year's resolution in 2018 to start getting fit by peddling round picture-perfect Perthshire.
November 7th Tuesday 2017
Blairgowrie golfer Bradley Neil secured his European Tour card after a tense finish at Al Mouj Golf in Muscat, Oman. The 21-year-old clinched the final qualification spot on the Challenge Tour with a three feet putt on the 18th hole, meaning next year he'll compete among the best golfers in world such as Justin Rose, Sergio Garcia and Rory McIlory.
November 5th Sunday 2017