The early summer heat and lockdown collab have sent fitness addicts out into the great outdoors, chasing rays while working out in the parks and beaches across the nation. This time of year also sends us all hurtling towards the nearest pool, lake or beach for a moment of relief. And after months of icy outside temps, the time to hit the water for your workout is finally here.
Swimming is the most common sport participated in by Australians according to research, with 48.8 per cent of Aussies going for a regular dip. It’s no surprise given that swimming is an extremely effective workout, building endurance, muscular strength and cardiovascular fitness.
Adding the open-water element to your swim can further boost the health benefits of a swim workout. Ocean swimming, particularly in warmer salt water, stimulates the body’s healing mechanisms to combat common ailments such as common aches and pains, breathing issues, and arthritis. The high magnesium content of seawater also aids in muscle relaxation and stress reduction.
The benefits of ocean swimming are clearly being felt by athletes and swimmers looking for an alternate workout (not to mention increases in vocabulary), with ocean swimming becoming one of our fastest growing sports in terms of participation numbers, with organised races held nationwide almost every weekend through until April.
Whilst a daunting challenge for even the most seasoned of swimmer, the thrill of an ocean swim is only matched by the incredible workout you’ll receive. If you’re tempted to smash out a few miles in the big blue this summer, OceanFit swim coach Andre Slade shares his top tips for conquering your first ocean swim
1. Position yourself for a relaxed start
If you’re racing, let the speedsters rush off the line first while you ease into the water from the back of the pack. This way you won’t feel rushed and no one will be swimming over the top of you. Get into your rhythm, think happy thoughts and enjoy the moment.
2. Stay wide and avoid the madness
It can be tempting to head directly for the swim buoys in order to swim the shortest possible distance. The problem with this is that everyone else has the same idea and so it can get busy and congested along the route and at the buoy turns. To avoid this, keep to the outside of the course and aim to round the buoys a few metres clear, ensuring you have calmer water to swim in and you won’t get knocked around.
3. Learn to sight to stay on course
In order to locate the course buoys without having to stop, you’ll need to lift your head during your breathing action. To do this, lift your head and look forward as your breathing side arm is completing its pull phase, then roll your head to the side as this arm is recovering. Maintain your stroke rate, tighten your core and kick harder to keep your body on the surface of the water and reduce drag.