Did you know that swimming and yoga go hand-in-hand? Whilst they may seem worlds apart and rather unrelated, yoga for swimmers can in fact improve your swimming game in more ways than one. Whether you swim competitively, as a fun way to fit in exercise or as an enjoyable hobby, we are here to show you why you should trade in your swimming costume or trunks for a yoga mat every once in a while...
1. Yoga as a swimming warm up and cool down exercise
If you’re like me, whenever you see a pool or the ocean, all you want to do is run and jump straight into the water! The glistening blue colour brings such a child-like joy that you can’t find anywhere else. Taking the time to roll out your yoga mat before and after a swim will help your body to loosen up, protect yourself from injury and make sure you don’t wake up stiff the next day! The deep, slow stretches that come with practicing yoga will not only prepare your muscles before swimming, but also help you ease into exercise, and wind you down afterwards. Plus, how idyllic does yoga on the beach sound?
2. Yoga increases flexibility for swimmers
Us swimmers out there know just how important flexibility is when it comes to performance and preventing injury. Whilst our love for the water makes it hard to stay on land, improving your flexibility can only help you when it comes to the actual swimming part. Incorporating yoga into your daily or weekly workouts can be a fun and effective way to encourage your frequently used muscles to stretch and relax, something swimmers muscles definitely need! If you find muscles stiffening up as the swimming season wears on, we’re looking at you!
3. Yoga for strength
Your own body weight is the perfect tool for building muscle strength, something swimmers bodies heavily rely on. You do not need expensive equipment or heavy weights, all you need is a few precise yoga poses that will help you to build a more functional strength. Forcing your muscles to hold yourself in certain positions encourages your core muscles to develop, whilst holding the pose will also develop your muscles endurance. Are you tempted to pick up a yoga mat yet?
4. Improve bone density
Yoga is a low impact sport, one of the main reasons it is so loved by so many. What better feeling is there than the weightlessness swimming gives? However, without impact, swimming alone can decrease muscle density. Enter yoga for swimmers… Adding a dose of dry-land exercise such as yoga can gently encourage your bone cells to grow and strengthen, all contributing towards your amazing swimming skills.
5. Improve breath control
Learning how to breathe on command and improving your breath control is a skill that will help out both swimmers and Yogi Bare’s alike. Controlled breathing does not only allow you to maximise your swimming performance, but it also helps you to ‘chill out’ before a race. When the start time is only a few hours or minutes away, you may find your heart race starts to increase and your breathing becomes quick and shallow as you anticipate the race to the finish line, the last thing you need as you step up to the start line! The controlled breathing technique that comes with practicing yoga can help you to regulate your breathing and slow it down to be more controlled and purposeful. This skill will also translate into a fabulous swimming performance. Whilst breathing on command sounds simple, us Yogi’s and swimmers out there know what a talent it is! So next time you pack your swimming bag, throw in your Yogi Bare Mat too…
Oh, and another major benefit of yoga for swimmers is it can be done without the pool, sea or lake. All you need is some comfortable clothes and a yoga mat… It is like swim training without even having to swim!