Fitness & workouts

Get started with swimming

Hitting the pool is one of the best ways to start getting fit for beginners, and for people with joint problems

If the last time you went swimming was when Duncan Goodhew won a gold medal, you need to dig out your costume and get back in the water.

Swimming is perfect if you’re new to exercise: the resistance of the water forces you to work hard, but without too much strain. And because you’re supported, it’s also very low impact – ideal for anyone with joint or mobility problems.

Being afraid of water or worrying about what others think of you can be a big stumbling block to getting started, but many leisure centres now offer adult swimming lessons. You can also search for an STA-qualified instructor who specialises in teaching adults.

Once you learn to relax in the water, you’ll find swimming much easier and more enjoyable. Start to build regular sessions into your activities – aim for once or twice a week.

Set yourself small challenges, such as swimming 20 lengths in 20 minutes, to really get your heart rate and fitness levels up; after 30 minutes of breaststroke, you’ll earn around 2 FitPoints®.

If swimming really isn’t for you, but you still want to enjoy the benefits of exercising in water, sign up for an aqua-aerobics class. It’s a class that attracts a range of ages, sizes and abilities, so it’s great for a first timer and a great way to meet new swimming buddies, too.