YMCA Healthy Living Magazine winter 2021 - Page 8

AUTHOR
JANELLE FALKINGHAM Janelle Falkingham is our aquatics expert at YMCA Victoria . She ’ s been with the Y for 20 years , working on water safety , swimming lessons and industry partnerships . Follow Janelle on LinkedIn .

SWIMMING – NOT JUST FOR SUMMER !

Janelle looks at why winter is a great time for swimming .
Throughout the summer months , we all crave a dip in the ocean , in our local river or at the swimming pool . But as the temperature drops – so can our enthusiasm for swimming .
Outdoor sport and exercise can become a little challenging in winter . We dig deep to motivate ourselves to go outside for a walk or jog and brave team sports in the rain and wind , but what about swimming ?
Indoor pools are the perfect environment for winter exercise . Heated between 29 to 34 degrees , with a matching indoor air temperature , indoor pools are a welcomed escape from the cooler conditions outside . Not convinced ?
Why you should keep swimming in winter
Anyone can do it People of any age , shape or size can enjoy swimming . Our body becomes lighter in the water so there is less

pressure on joints ( which can sometimes feel uncomfortable while participating in other high impact activities ). Even if you ’ re not a confident swimmer and not quite ready for a couple of kilometres of lap swimming , walking or jogging in water is just as good . Swimming or moving in water relieves sore muscles and strengthens your whole body . Water creates a natural resistance that builds muscle and provides a full body workout . Swim away the winter blues If you haven ’ t quite shaken off the year that was 2020 , or are struggling with the return of busy schedules , swimming is an excellent stressreliever . Research indicates that swimming can reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety . The concentration we apply to our breathing during a swim results in us feeling less stressed , and the buoyancy we experience in water relaxes our muscles .

Brain training Swimming increases blood flow to the brain – which leads to more oxygen . More oxygen results in us feeling more alert and improves our cognitive functions – making it easier to learn , as well as enhancing our memory .
Cold water swimming
For those of you brave enough to take on a winter swim in an outdoor pool or even the bay or ocean – we salute you ! Research shows that cold-water swimming reduces stress , improves circulation , burns calories and releases endorphins for a natural high that stays with you all day !
Swimming lessons As the season changes , it ’ s also important for kids to continue swimming lessons . It ’ s a great way to keep kids physically active during winter , which can give their immune systems a boost . Continuing lessons throughout winter also helps consolidate the skills learnt throughout the warmer months – which means kids are more prepared come summer .
Top tips for winter
Our top tips for a successful winter swimming season are to : } keep warm afterwards by showering and changing into warm clothes before you leave ;
} plan to meet up with a friend to keep your motivation up ; and
} start slowly building to a more regular swimming routine if you ’ re new to the pool .
When it comes to physical exercise , swimming really is hard to beat . Swimming is one of the best activities you can do all year round , which benefits your body , as well as your mind .
8 YMCA HEALTHY LIVING MAGAZINE