If you want to lose weight, tone up, boost your metabolism and burn calories without the high impact on your joints, swimming might be your perfect fit. This low-impact exercise has been shown to strengthen and firm muscles all over the body, including your core and legs—but that’s just the beginning of the benefits it offers.
Swimming can be hard to learn at first, but once you do, the feeling of accomplishment and pride that comes with your progress is undeniable. Swimming also provides a natural endorphin boost that can help you stay more relaxed, focused and energized throughout the day.
Whether you’re just starting out or aiming for a specific swim time goal, knowing how to pace yourself will help you reach your goal. Use this article to find the average swim times for your age group and the pool size you are swimming in so that you can plan your training effectively and avoid injury or burnout.
You’ll find that most swimmers fall into a category based on their age and ability. The average swim time for swimmers of the same age and ability is given in minutes (or yards) per 100 meters or feet. This is a standard method for rating the performance of all types of swimmers.
This is a good place to start for comparisons since most people will be in the same boat as you. However, the real comparisons should come from looking at your own swim times vs. your previous times or the swim times of others in your age group who are more experienced, in the same boat as you, but swimming at a faster pace.
Your arms will get a workout when you swim, but don’t forget about your legs and back as well. The kicking motion will engage your legs, and the back movement is even more important in strokes like the breaststroke, which require a strong core. Using hand-held paddles, foam noodles or kickboards can add additional resistance to your routine to help you build strength and endurance.
The water is around 800 times denser than air, which makes your body work harder to move through it. This can lead to increased muscle strength, better flexibility and a lower body fat percentage. People who regularly swim are also more likely to meet the recommended amount of weekly aerobic activity, which can decrease the risk of chronic health problems such as heart disease and diabetes.
Getting into the habit of regular swimming is easy enough, but it’s a good idea to set some goals to keep you on track. It’s recommended to aim for at least three weekly swimming sessions, though more frequent training will speed up your progress. If you’re trying to ace a certain event, such as a mile or 10K swim, it’s more realistic to train six or more times a week, but don’t overdo it and risk burnout or injury. You can always increase the frequency of your sessions as your endurance and strength improves.