Active Lifestyles: Why you should try… swimming!

We’re excited to launch our brand new Active Lifestyles blog series with a guest post from one our sport scholars, triathlete, Alice Sharpe!

Alice Sharpe
Alice Sharpe

Alice got involved with triathlon (which combines swimming, running and cycling) when she was 11 years old.  Skip forward ten years, and Alice is now competing in the British Super Series, training between 15 and 20 hours a week.

Over the next few weeks, Alice is going to be bringing us a three-stage blog explaining how you could get into swimming, cycling and running, hopefully inspiring you to take up triathlon too!  So, whether you’re an aspiring athlete, looking to make new friends or simply wanting to try something new, we hope you find this helpful!

Over to you, Alice…!

If you’re looking to start a new hobby, lose weight or de-stress, swimming is a fantastic workout.  Just 30 minutes of swimming is equivalent to 45 to 60 minutes of cardio exercise, such as jogging.

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Another bonus is that it gives you a great break from studying, as swimming produces the same relaxation responses as yoga does, along with loads of other proven health benefits, including improving your mood by boosting endorphins in the body, increasing positivity and reducing stress, improving sleep quality, strengthening muscles and increasing circulation.

One of the best things about swimming is that the water also supports your body weight, allowing you to work out for longer, as less stress is placed on your body.  This is perfect, if you’re prone to injury or suffering from a current injury!

Getting started…

Getting started is easy!  All you’ll need is a swimming costume or trunks.  I would personally recommend a pair of goggles and, if you have long hair, a swim hat is great.  All of these things can be bought for under £10 online.

We’re lucky enough to have the Manchester Aquatics Centre on our doorstep.  It’s right on Oxford Road and was purpose built for the 2002 Commonwealth Games and has seen idols such as Ian Thorpe set world records in it!

Getting in the pool…

It’s easy to start swimming during your time at Manchester Metropolitan University.  As part of MMU Sport’s Active Lifestyles programme, there are three completely free sessions for you to take part in this term.

Tuesday 12:00pm – 1:00pm Open to all
Wednesday 1:30pm – 2:30pm Women’s only swim
Thursday 12:00pm – 1:00pm Open to all

If you can’t make any of these sessions, then it’s also easy to pop along to one of the public sessions, which are open to everyone.  Lanes are split into slow, medium, fast and very fast, and all sessions are detailed on the MAC’s website.  A regular student swim at the MAC costs £1.90.

Combatting nerves…

Starting something new for the first can be a little bit intimidating, so I’d recommend going with a course mate or house mate, or joining a club!

The University’s Swimming Clubs at our Manchester and Cheshire campuses are perfect if you want to take up swimming for fun or to compete.  You can find out more here.

If you want some expert advice on swimming, MMU Sport’s Get Into Swimming courses offer a month long course of swimming lessons, suitable for beginners, intermediate and advanced swimmers, and is perfect for re-teaching the basics of swimming while increasing your confidence in the water. You can find out more here! 

So, if you’re feeling inspired, here’s my perfect beginners workout!

Warmup: 2 x 50m (2 lengths) front crawl – You can rest between laps if needed.

Main set: 4 x 25m (1 length) front crawl counting strokes per length – try to keep an even number of strokes.

4 x 50m front crawl (30 seconds rest between each length) – try to hit the same time on each lap.

4 x 25m front crawl counting strokes per length – try to keep an even number of strokes.

2 x 50m front crawl warmdown – swim slowly and relax!

Thanks Alice!

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