Swimming is a healthy and challenging low-impact exercise that can be started at any age. Like any form of exercise, you should consult your doctor before starting a new workout routine. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, just 30 to 60 minutes of moderate swimming most days reduces your risk of Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain types of cancer.
Outside of a body of water and a bathing suit, swimming does not require much equipment to get started. Everything else is optional and based on your own preferences. Additional pieces of equipment you might be interested in include goggles to protect your eyes, fins to add speed, a pull buoy to help your lower body float when you are focusing on your upper body, a kickboard to help your upper body float when you are focusing on your lower body and hand paddles to emphasize your pull. Both fins and paddles help you speed without overexerting your muscles. Long fins are the best option for beginners.
Short Beginner Workout
This short beginner workout is designed to increase your endurance, speed and overall fitness. Before starting out, you should feel comfortable swimming 100 meters without stopping. As a warmup, swim 100 meters at an easy pace. Follow this with 50 meters of side-kicking. Begin on your right side with your right arm extended overhead in the water with your right ear resting on your right arm. Kick from your hips and make sure to keep your knees and the side of your head in the water. Swim back on your left side. Using a kickboard, kick for 50 meters. Then swim five 50-meter intervals in which you breathe every third stoke. Take 50 to 60 seconds rest between intervals. Next, swim two 50-meters at a pace of 1:15 minute per interval. Then swim 100 meters at a moderate intensity followed by a 100-meter cool down. This workout is 750 meters in length.
Beginner Interval Workout
In this interval workout, you focus on building speed and endurance by swimming in the anaerobic zone. This zone is 80 to 90 percent of your maximum heart rate. Begin by swimming a 200-meter easy warmup. Then swim eight 50-meter intervals in which the first two are at 80 percent of your maximum heart rate. Continue increasing your effort by 5 percent so that by the final two intervals you are swimming at 95 percent of your maximum heart rate. Take 30 seconds rest between intervals. Next, swim four 50-meters in which each interval is faster than the previous one. Take 30 seconds rest between intervals. Finally, swim two 50-meters at an all out sprint with 20 seconds rest between them. Cool down with a 400-meter easy swim. This workout is 1,300 meters in length.
Beginner Long Workout
A long swim workout performed at a moderate intensity helps build your endurance. Begin with a warm-up set in which you swim 100 meters at a very easy pace followed by 100 meters of kicking and 100 meters of pulling. Next, swim 1,000 meters freestyle at a steady pace. Then, swim three 100-meters with 15 seconds rest between intervals. Finish with a 100-meter easy swim. This workout is 1,700 meters in length.
Fitzalan Gorman has more than 10 years of academic and commercial experience in research and writing. She has written speeches and text for CEOs, company presidents and leaders of major nonprofit organizations. Gorman has published for professional cycling teams and various health and fitness websites. She has a Master of Arts from Virginia Tech in political science and is a NASM certified personal trainer.