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Most of us presume that going for a swim is as simple as jumping in the pool and doing a doggy paddle!

However, if you want to achieve your fitness goals and keep injury free, it’s probably best you have a read of our handy tips before heading to your local Halo swimming baths. We know our lifeguards are paid professionals, but we’d rather not utilise their skills if we can help it!


Warm up

We often think of swimming as a relaxed form of exercise, meaning many of us assume a warm-up is not necessary. However, with all forms of exercise, a warm-up is needed to get blood pumping and to avoid injury.

Before you begin lengths, try gliding in the pool for a few minutes.


Don’t hold your breath!

A common misconception is that when our mouth or face is under water we need to hold our breath. This results in a poor-quality swim, due to the swimmer having to take regular breaks to get their breath back.

When your mouth or face is under the water, try exhaling through your nose/ mouth as soon as you have taken a breath in. By exhaling whilst your face is in the water you are giving your empty lungs ample time to take in new air when inhaling.


Avoid the breaststroke if you are suffering from back pain

Whilst many of us see swimming as a great form of gentle exercise, certain swimming techniques can often exacerbate an injury.

The breaststroke involves having your head up and looking forward. This can cause not only neck strain but can also cause strain on the lower back. Gentle swim strokes that don’t involve going in and out of the water are the best for those suffering from an injury.


Eating before a swim is not necessarily a no-no

There is nothing worse than suffering from cramp during a swim. However, the fear of this occurring often means meals are skipped ahead of a swim, which is never a good thing.

Oatcakes are a great light breakfast choice, full of fibre, making them a good meal choice ahead of a swim. For those swimming later in the day, why not try brown pasta or rice? The key is not to avoid eating, but rather to wait a substantial amount of time (one hour) between eating and getting in the pool.


Household essentials = clean goggles

To get the best out of your swim, goggles are essential.  However, the mixture of being in close contact with your eyes, the water, and an array of temperatures can cause them to become foggy and dirty.

Rather than splash out on expensive lens cleaning products, why not see what you have at home that could do the job? A small drop of washing up liquid with water, toothpaste left and then rinsed overnight and even shaving cream can help remove the build-up!