Photos by Tito Nicolau at FroginRedTie
I can now take long underground train journeys without having to break the journey in order to come up for fresh air and natural light, or spending money on taxis. I am no longer agitated to get into a lift and am pleasantly surprised that just 2 sessions of swim coaching with Swim for Tri, which I primarily wanted to go through to get rid of my claustrophobia which I experience when in the water, has also helped me get rid of other problems.
So there we were, once again, at Market Sports gym, in the only 25 metre, chlorine free, swimming pool around town. Situated in the heart of Shoreditch, a short walk from Old Street station, the gym attracts both locals and city workers alike and is the best gym I have been to, so far.
Today’s lesson was all about floating and I absolutely loved it! It was a lot of fun and my teacher Keeley Bullock also instructed and demonstrated breathing technique. My class happens on a Thursday and during other days, I practise what Keeley taught me in the pool. I can now stay in the water for about 30 to 45 minutes, without feeling wary or agitated. Hopefully, I might be able to swim for an hour soon! The time just flies. Swimming is such a wonderful exercise and practising every other day has made me feel better.
After our lesson, I asked Keeley several questions. We discussed hints and tips, Dos and Don’ts and she also cleared my doubts. So I’m sharing you with you all the information I gathered.
Make sure you have your meal 2 hours before swimming. We are all different so this will vary depending on the individual. I always have a light meal an hour or two before swimming. That works for me. After swimming, I would have a hearty meal, just like I do after an intense workout session at the gym. Rehydrating whilst swimming is very important too, so make sure you have a water bottle nearby.
If you are learning to swim or working on your stroke development then you should swim before you do any physical exercise at the gym. Swimming is a very technical sport so you need to be as focused as possible. If you are tired, you will not be as focused as you could be. Some yoga breathing exercises can be very beneficial before swimming. You can also swim a couple of lengths to cool down after a strenuous workout.
Keeley also told me about “muscle memory.” The more frequently one swims, the easier it is for one’s body to get used to the movement. If you swim one day and then do not swim for 7 days, you will have 7 days of unlearning. Swim a little, and more often to allow the body to remember. It is very important to practise the skills that your teacher has taught you.
Swimming has several benefits, reducing or eliminating stress is one of the main ones. It’s a gentle non-impact exercise and is great for people who are returning to fitness. It’s perfect for body-toning as well as water is 12 times denser/heavier than air. Swimming also helps with breathing and flexibility, allowing one to exercise longer, with less stress on the body. It also contributes to mental tranquillity.