Zoggs 'Learn to Swim' Ambassador, Simone Benhayon, answers the top 10 most frequently asked questions about swimming.
1. What is the best time of day to swim?
Personally, I prefer to swim in the morning before I work or start the things I need to do for the day. But, if you prefer, during your lunch break is also a good time. Ultimately, you want to be relaxed in the pool, not stressed and not thinking about the day.
2. Why are water exercises good for you?
Water exercises can help support the body to develop strength, fitness and stamina whilst also burning calories. As water is a relatively weightless environment, water exercises can be beneficial in supporting certain medical conditions by offering relief from pain and a greater flexibility or range of movement than is possible outside of a pool environment. Advice from your Doctor should be sought.
3. How often should I swim?
A regular programme can truly benefit your fitness and self esteem. When starting out I would suggest twice a week. As you develop more strength and fitness try and increase to three times a week. Check out Zoggs FREE online Swim4fitness programme www.swim4fitness.com where you’ll be sure to find a programme that suits you.
4. What is the best age to teach my child to swim?
Before attempting to teach your child to swim you should build your child’s confidence in water and ideally this should start as soon as possible after the age of 2 months. Building water confidence is completely different from teaching your child to swim - it is about you and your child just enjoying the water. Once you have built the confidence of your child in water with a foundation of fun, the best age when they will retain the information and their bodies will be able to respond to swimming instruction begins at 3yrs old.
5. Can I swim while pregnant?
The simple answer is yes. Swimming while pregnant increases the ability for the body to use and create oxygen, but also because it is a low impact exercise it can also help with maintaining a level of fitness for the birth of your child. Be sure to check with your Doctor or midwife before you start swimming if swimming isn’t part of your regular routine. Please be aware that there are contraindicative strokes whilst pregnant, like breaststroke, which may cause pain in your pelvis. If you experience pain, do not continue swimming this stroke and consult your doctor.
6. Will swimming help me lose weight?
There is no guarantee that you will lose weight when swimming but you can burn around 500 calories per hour whilst swimming. If weight loss is your aim then swimming or exercise is just one element of leading a balanced and healthy lifestyle.
7. Is swimming good for my health?
Absolutely yes! Swimming is good for your health if you are healthy or unhealthy, if you are medically fit or medically unable. Swimming supports improved circulation, lung and heart function, increases or builds muscle tone and eases aches and pains. The list goes on and on and the health benefits can be amazing depending on the individual’s commitment and approach. Anyone undertaking a ‘good’ level of healthy swimming will notice a positive impact on their commitment to work and energy levels throughout the day.
8. How long does it take to learn to swim?
Learning to swim is actually fairly easy, but what hinders progress is firstly, your breathing and secondly, your state of mind. With the breathing, a lot of people either forget how or when to breathe, which puts a strain on their chest and leaves them in a state of panic. A positive state of mind is important because whether you are an adult or a child you need to convince yourself to try something new. The best advice I can give is to not put a time limit on it. Take each stage one step at a time and work on building up your water confidence first. This may take one lesson or may take five lessons. The more comfortable you are with the instructor the easier it will be to learn.
9. What are the best swimming aids for non confident swimmers?
It depends on the age range. For a young child between the ages of 2 to 4 you can use a float suit or arm bands. For ages 4 to 6, armbands can be used, but personally I would lean towards a back float to support your child and help them maintain full arm movement. For an adult the best aid for a swimmer that is not confident would be a foam noodle as the swimmer can relax their body and at the same time practice kicking and floating.
10. Why do I need goggles to swim?
Goggles are an important part of everyone’s swimming kit. Goggles not only support you to see where you are going underwater but they also stop any pool chemicals getting in your eyes or irritating the delicate skin around your eyes. By being able to clearly see underwater, swimming becomes a lot smoother and efficient as you can focus on your stroke and having fun. The simplest way to look at swimming without goggles is to compare it to running with your eyes closed. You just wouldn’t do it would you?
This post was written by Simone Benhayon - Zoggs ‘Learn to Swim’ Ambassador.
Australian born Simone directs and runs the highly acclaimed Creative Aquatic Swimming Centre in Frome, Somerset, which was voted ASA Swim School of the Year in 2013.
Simone was awarded ASA Swimming Teacher of the Year in 2008, FUNdamental Swimming Teacher of the Year for the South West in 2011 and Somerset Sports Awards Children’s Coach of the Year in 2014.