From beginners and weekend amateurs, to fitness fanatics and competitive athletes, it is a question which resurfaces again and again amidst anyone who has ever been keen about swimming.
So, how often should you be swimming?
It depends. Answering this question first requires you to identify your goals, as well as the limitations set on your training by your own schedule and lifestyle. How much time do you have in a week to spend at your local pool? Are you familiar with basic swimming techniques? Which sports do you already practice? And ultimately, what are your swimming goals?
1. How much time do you have to dedicate to swimming?
As with many hobbies and sports, unless you are training as a professional athlete, time is quick to become one of the principal factors in deciding when and how often you can do a particular activity.
Before you even start picking out swimsuits and swimming pools, you should ask yourself one important question: how much time do I actually have to go swimming?
Luckily, whether it is hours or just a couple of minutes, the answer scarcely matters as long as you are willing to dedicate at least a small part of your week to swim. As with other forms of cardio, swimming benefits from consistent training, encouraging multiple 45-minute sessions throughout the week instead of a single 4 hour swim every two weeks.
There is no need to sacrifice your progress for your busy schedule, finding a spare hour twice a week to do some quick laps around the pool is a great way to improve your fitness and start building up your technique.
2. What is your current swimming level?
Have you been training 5 hours every week, or every year? If you have been away from the pool for some time or have just started to dip your toes into the deep end, you should aim to increase both your training intensity and length as you progress from one week to the next.
3. Do you practice other sports regularly?
Have you taken up swimming to keep up with your cardio, or are you training to build up strength alongside another sport? If you are already training consistently in another sport, exhausting yourself with hours of daily training is unlikely to do you much good.
Learning how to incorporate swim into your training in order to balance out strength-based exercises like weightlifting, endurance-based workouts like running or even agility-based sports like boxing, is key to determining how often you should be jumping into the pool.
4. What are you hoping to take away from swimming?
Whether you are swimming to work on your general fitness in a fun and enjoyable way, to learn how to swim for your upcoming trip to the beach, or to improve your technique, the beauty of a sport certainly lies in its versatility. Indeed, with such a wide range of training possibilities there is an equal number of different workout methods.
• general fitness
If it is improving your general health that you are after, then a mix of higher and lower intensity training anywhere between twice to four times a week is ideal. You may wish to extend your swim sessions for a more aerobic-based focus or otherwise incorporate some shorter high-intensity exercises to work on your technique and strength.
• stress relief
Others may see swimming as a gateway to relieve the accumulate stresses of the week. In such an instance, shorter swims squeezed in throughout the week are the most effective in harnessing the pool’s appeasing environment. Care should be taken to avoid injuries from overworked joints, focusing instead on lower intensity workouts.
• improving technique
If you are just starting to learn how to swim or are wishing to further improve your technique, more frequent swims will be crucial to successful progress. Although it will highly depend on your initial fitness level, getting into the pool at least once every other day is the best way forward to develop your skills and confidence in the pool.
If you are still unsure as to how often you should be swimming in order to meet your personal targets, a private swim teacher can help answer those questions and set up the ideal training plan to help you progress as quickly as possible.
Going Swimmingly London offers a range of swim lessons near South West London tailored to your ability and ambitions. You can learn how to swim and improve your technique with a private swim lesson, or even find new ways to supplement your swim training with additional private sports activities or private boxing lessons.