I used to swim as a teen, and when I look back at the photos from those days, I realize that I was at my slimmest and fittest when I was a swimmer. They say swimming is one of the best cardiovascular exercises you can practice and I think they are right. Recently, I decided to give up on my running because it was just too hard on my knees. I’ve been swimming now for about six months and I feel great. Swimming is a fantastic workout that addresses every part of the body and leaves you feeling energetic, fit and in shape. Before taking up the sport though, you’ll need to get a few things to make your swimming efforts pay off.
Unless you plan on swimming in the nude, you’ll need a good swimsuit. Just as in other sports, technology has also affected the swimsuit industry. Today, swimsuits made for practicing the sport are designed for minimal resistance against the water. These are made to last a long time and resist fading, even after many uses. If you don’t feel comfortable in a skimpy race suit, there are many other options like the Speedo Women’s Pro swimsuit. This is a suit that’s made of 85% polyester and 15% Spandex – a perfect fabric for swimmers. Buy it on Amazon here.
Don’t forget a good pair of goggles as these can protect your eyes from chlorine and any other debris in the water. Goggles help you swim better because you can keep your eyes open and see where you are going. Make sure the goggles are adjustable and get a brand name. Something like the Aqua Sphere KAYENNE GOGGLE might work very well. These feature clear lenses that offer great visibility both indoors and out. Plus the extra large Plexisol lens offers an extended 180-degree view made in one piece. The quick fit buckle also offers an easy adjustment option that lets you fit the goggle to your requirements. Buy it on Amazon here.
You’ll also want to find a good bathing cap as its purpose is twofold. In some gyms or public pool areas, you are required to wear a cap if you have long hair. This keeps hair from getting into the pool and filters. A good bathing cap will also protect your hair from the chlorinated water that can make it dry and brittle. A Speedo solid colored cap, made of silicon, is designed to fit your head snugly and reduce drag from the water. The silicon material allows for air flow to your head. This cap is also resistant to tearing or snagging so it will last a long time. Buy it on Amazon here.
It’s always a good idea to have a kickboard on hand. This helps you continue swimming, even when you are tired. This is especially useful when you first start swimming and helps you push your endurance a bit further. A good kickboard allows you to exercise your legs while you rest your arms. You can leave the kickboard on one end of the pool and grab it when you get tired. You can continue swimming a couple of rounds with the kickboard and when you regain the strength in your arms, you can set the kickboard aside. A good kickboard to start with might be the Speedo swim training kickboard.
A pull buoy is like a kickboard, except that it helps you work your upper body instead of your legs. You place a pull buoy between your legs to keep them afloat without having to kick. This allows you to pull your body through the water using your arms. The TYR pull float offer a great training aid for new swimmers, and the contoured shape creates a universal fit. Buy it on Amazon here.
If you plan to swim for a while, consider getting some fins. These add speed and propulsion to your kicks, allowing you to swim faster. Long fins are better for beginners who want to build up their leg strength. You want fins to fit snuggly but not too tight. You may even want to wear socks with them to make them a bit more comfortable and ensure they don’t cut your feet at first. Fins like the Finis floating fins work well for this type of training. Buy it on Amazon here.
Of course you don’t have to buy a lot of equipment to get started. You can simply begin with a simple suit and build up your equipment as you continue practicing the sport.