When it comes to fitness it can sometimes feel like opinions about what is right and what is wrong are flying in from all directions. The slogan ‘No Pain No Gain’ in particular is thrown around a lot, but do we really need to be putting ourselves in pain to achieve the results we want?

Basically: no!

While it’s normal to have some muscle soreness when you begin exercising, especially if you don’t exercise regularly, pain is our body's way of telling us there’s an issue. Excessive pain when exercising can be a sign of a serious problem that if you continuously ignore will only get worse.

So what fitness advice should you be following? Here are our top 5 tips for improving your fitness during the Aspire Channel Swim:

1)      Find a support system

Research has shown that people are far more likely to continue exercising if they are doing it with a friend. Swimming can be a lonely sport so why not encourage a friend to take part in the Aspire Channel Swim and challenge each other to a certain number of lengths a week? Alternatively, head to the Aspire Channel Swim Facebook page to find other like-minded people!

2)      Write it down

Make sure you set yourself some goals at the beginning of the challenge. Do you want to complete a mile (64 lengths) in an hour? Do you want to learn how to do a tumble turn? Do you want to finish your swim in 6 weeks instead of 12? Jot down your goals at the beginning of the challenge, and every week come back to assess how you’re doing. Writing down your successes and improvements will be really motivating and encourage you to get back in the pool!

3)      Keep it fun

One reason many people give up on exercise is because it’s not fun, and swimming can be pretty repetitive if all you’re doing is pounding out lengths. However, don’t despair! There are multiple ways to make swimming fun. Try swimming 1 length in every 10 in a different stroke, or count how many strokes you make per length and try to reduce it. You could even splash out on some training aids from Zoggs such as a kick buoy, pull buoy or some fancy blue fins! Not only will these improve your swimming, but they’ll also give you something else to focus on in the water.

4)      Mix up your routine.

Although swimming is great, don’t isolate yourself to the pool. Every so often do a different exercise to ensure you’re improving all your muscles. Ab exercises such as the plank, sit ups and Russian twists are all brilliant for improving your core strength and a stronger core will result in better swimming (and a great six-pack!).  If the thought of leaving the water to exercise fills you with dread, why not take your swimming session outdoors? 

5)      Warm ups and cool downs are key

Yes it’s cliché but it’s cliché for a reason! Warming up and cooling down not only improves your fitness but also helps you avoid injury. Make sure you do a warm up by starting with 5 slow lengths to get you used to your movement in the water. Focus on your form; lifting your elbows out of the water, staying streamline and kicking from the hips not the knees. To cool down, swim a couple lengths backstroke or freestyle to stretch out your back. Following this, face the pool wall and hold onto the edge. Walk your legs up the wall so your knees and under your chest and lean your head back to stretch. Then walk your legs back down the wall to finish.  

Start your fitness regime today and sign up to the Aspire Channel Swim 2017 HERE!

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