DEMANDING to compete in and exciting to watch, swimming has been a big part of every Commonwealth Games since they began in 1930. It can also be one of the most relaxing yet invigorating exercises, and summer is a great time to take to the water – especially outdoors.
With the gradual rise in temperatures there is no better time to explore the beautiful and extensive UK coastline. The clear waters and inviting shallows are sure to tempt even the most cautious of swimmers, while the miles of sandy beaches are a wildlife spotters paradise.
Swimming in the sea need not feel like a challenge – so long as you have the ability to tread water confidently and a good general awareness of your surroundings, there is no reason why you cannot enjoy the life aquatic.
Perhaps think about taking along a snorkel and flippers to really enjoy the sub-aqua experience – there is plenty to see under there!
Taking a dip can also be a refreshing way of cooling off on a hot and humid day too. Why not take the dog along for swim? The chances are, if you are feeling the heat, they are too! Take a ball and a Frisbee to make splashing around a bit more adventurous.
Just make sure you both have plenty of fresh water for everyone to rehydrate with after. Also swim safe:
Identify entry and exit points before you get into the water.
Be sure to acclimatise to the temperature gradually.
Wear a bright cap to be visible boats and other swimmers.
In wide bodies of water wear a wetsuit for extra buoyancy and warmth.
Always swim with a partner, either in the water or watching from land.
Research and identify local tides and currents.
If you want to jump or dive, climb in first and test for depth and hidden objects.
Never swim in reservoirs: deep, cold, with steep banks, they have warning signs for good reason.
Always take warm clothes to put on afterwards.
If you aren’t a confident swimmer, perhaps a few sessions at your local community pool are in order. Lessons are a great way to boost confidence, and lane-swimming sessions are brilliant for cementing that confidence and getting in a bit of practice.
So now what are you waiting for? Let’s take the plunge!
Todays secret ingredient: oatmeal!
Swimmers are known for their lean physiques and big appetites – remember Michael Phelps’ Olympic diet? A consistent source of fuel is crucial. Oatmeal is a great example of a complex carbohydrate that releases energy slowly and helps keep blood glucose levels consistent.
Not only that, but it’s heart-healthy and full of dietary fibre – great for removing that bloated feeling before a swim.