Winter is making its way around again and what better way to reminisce summer than going for a swim? The harsh weather often makes it hard to workout outside, so swimming is a great alternative that comes with many advantages. My name is Zachary Carr and I am an intern here at JOSC, but I am also, a certified water safety instructor and die-hard swim fanatic! In this blog, I want to illustrate a few things on how to have a great workout in the pool. 

First things first, breathing. Having an effective breathing pattern is unquestionably the most crucial part of swimming, when performing any stroke, such as: front crawl, back crawl, breaststroke, or butterfly. For every stroke, except back crawl of course, the swimmer should be staring at the black line at the bottom of the pool and constantly exhaling from their mouth or nose slowly. When you start to feel you are running out of air, that is when you come up to breathe. Maintaining a calm, steady breath will allow you to swim longer distances. Swimming increases lung capacity, so next time you go for a run outside, you will be breathing much calmer! 

Certainly, it can get boring staring at the black line, for what seems like forever, performing the front crawl. So, try switching up your stroke often. Having a diverse workout makes the most fun in swimming! In my workout I mix in a short distance of “stroke of choice”, usually breaststroke (my favorite), to change up the basic front crawl. Try not to add too much “stroke of choice” to prevent fatigue early in your workout.  

Okay we get it, we’re tired of just swimming long distances. Swimming in intervals splits up the repetitiveness of swimming lap after lap and also gives your workout a purpose. Maybe after a 200 (yards or meters) sprint five 50’s with a few seconds of rest. Not only will having intervals make you a faster swimmer, it is a fun workout. 

Swimming is also great for those with joint problems or arthritis. It creates zero-impact on your joints and also stretches your body, improving posture. The buoyancy of the water supports body weight, which reduces stress on joints and minimizes the pain. While weight-bearing exercises, such as running, are hard to do with arthritis, swimming is a great alternative. 

Did you know swimming burns a lot of calories? It takes less distance to swim than it does to run to burn the same number of calories. Swimming at 100-yards-per-2 minutes burn around 550 calories per hour, while running at a seven mile-per-hour pace for one-hour burns nearly 700 calories. Sure, it may take longer to swim enough to burn the number of calories while running, but swimming works every muscle in your body. 

If you don’t consider yourself the “best” swimmer this tip is for you. Local companies and organizations offer swim lessons such as: MCCS Aquatics, Onslow Fitness, Jacksonville Country Club, Cape Carteret Aquatics & Wellness Center, and Onslow County Parks and Recreation. Watching YouTube videos and tutorials are also great ways to learn how to swim. 

It does not require you to be an Olympic swimmer, or swimmer at all, to follow these tips in the pool. Next time you take a dive in, remember to have fun! Swimming will change up your workout routine, work every muscle in your body, and keep up your cardio.  

-Zachary Carr, JOSC Intern