Come on in the Water's lovely- Slimming world
Don't let changing room fears hold you back! Take the plunge and swim yourself slimmer with our practical, confidence boosting guide.
For many women, the reluctance to make a splash often has more to do with our horror at the thought of being seen in a cossie than any concerns about lack of fitness or swimming skills. Wherever you are on your slimming campaign, though, there really is no reason to miss out. A few confidence- boosting tricks could be all you need to start reaping all the health and fitness benefits that swimming brings.
Swimming is one of the best fitness activities you can do, especially if you're overweight. The water supports your body and puts less stress on your joints than exercising on land does. Studies have shown swimming is easier to stick to than many other forms of exercise, and that it dramatically boosts mood and helps relieve stress, thanks to its rhythmic quality/ It can also lower blood pressure and help reduce your risk of developing other conditions, from diabetes to depression, when done regularly.
Where to go The Amateur Swimming Association or ASA (the governing body of all things swimming) suggest checking out your local pool online at www.activeplaces.com, or you can install the free splashpath app. And nothing beats going to have a look in person. Some pools have women only sessions and reception staff should be able to tell you when the pool is at its quietest, making for a more relaxing experience.
What to wear The next step is to find a swimming costume you feel good in. Tamara Hill- Norton, who runs the fitness wear company Sweaty Betty, says choosing a good fabric that will support and flatter you is key. A higher Lycra content and matt finish will help to disguise lumps and bumps, she says. Seamlines that run along the front of the body are most slimming and help minimise a larger bust. This is also one time when you should opt for a slightly- too- small feeling, rather than a suit that skims your body loosely. 'Most fabrics will stretch slightly in the water,' Explains Tamara. ' The key word is slightly- avoid anything that feels uncomfortable or causes bulging.'
Feel-good fixes As well as a well-fitting cossie, buy the best goggles you can afford. Cheaper ones often don't fit as well. It's worth considering investing in a few feel-good beauty products, too, such as a manicure, pedicure, a salon leg and/ or bikini wax (if you're brave enough - alternatively just whizz away hair with a razor). A gradual self-tanning body lotion will give you an all over glow on a budget, or you can even treat yourself to a spray tan- anything that gives you that little bit of extra confidence on your way from the changing room to the pool.
Swim Starter So, once you're there how do you make the most of your time in the water? If you're not a fan of front crawl, you might be pleased to know a good-pace breaststroke actually burns more calories, as around 70 per cent of the stroke's power comes from the larger muscle groups in your legs and bottom. What you might not be so thrilled about is that, according to Steven Shaw (www.artofswimming.com), it's impossible to do breaststroke properly and keep your hair dry! 'For every inch your head is lifted, your hips will sink two inches. This creates drag and causes stain to your neck and shoulders,' he says Instead, get used to exhaling with your face in the water and use the natural motion of your arm action to dip your upper body down, lifting your head and inhaling when you pop back up again.