Re-discover Swimming Fun - one of the best ways to stay in shape

Enjoy the swimming fun of childhood and reap some great health benefits

swimming fun for menopausal women

Have you noticed how children love just being in the water? Left to themselves many children will spend hours and hours - simply splashing around in the pool, the river, paddling pool or sea - just for the simple joy of being in water ...

So what happened?

Why don't we middle aged women love the water so much?

Could it be that we have forgotten the sheer joy of playing in the water and just enjoying plain, old swimming fun?


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Health benefits of swimming for midlife women - read more

Or maybe as children, we endured cold, crowded pools, nasty games teachers and unnecessary competition?

One of the reasons that many middle aged women dislike swimming is because of negative early experiences of the water. Unfortunately when many of us were children, swimming was taught in a way which often promoted fear rather than confidence in the water.

And even worse, when they were children, some women were even thrown into the pool by parents who wanted them to "learn the fast way".

No wonder they went off the whole idea!

The result of these early life experiences, is that many menopausal women do not feel comfortable swimming and on entering the water they become stressed and uneasy.

And often women are especially fearful of putting their faces in the water.

But if we can overcome this fear and start to feel at home and relaxed in the water, then a whole new world can open up for us. We can really start to enjoy the many benefits of swimming and of course, don't forget - swimming is a great way to avoid weight gain.

A good way to overcome fear of water is to take a few swimming lessons.

Improving your confidence in the water - read more.

Swimming Fun

But even if we are confident in the water, and sometimes especially if we are strong and keen swimmers, we forget how to enjoy the simple fun of swimming.

We live in such a competitive, achievement focussed culture. It's all about targets and goals. And this "results" thinking so easily gets translated into what we do when we get into the pool.

How many times have you gone to the pool and thought:

"this time I will do 30 lengths (or 40 or 50 or whatever) and I'll try and do them in X minutes so I can be faster or do better than the last time ..."

It can be helpful to set targets so that we can measure and monitor our progress, especially if we want to become fit and avoid weight gain at midlife.

But sometimes it's also good to ease up a bit and learn to just BE in the water and enjoy some swimming fun. Learning to just "be" instead of "doing" all the time, can be one of the greatest benefits of swimming.

Read more about simply "being" in the water

How to re-discover the fun in swimming:

If you can, find a pool which is not cordoned off for lane swimming. Get some good goggles so you are comfortable putting your face underwater. If you're not comfortable putting your face in the water consider getting swimming lessons ... you may need to improve your water confidence.

Here's some fun things to do in the water:

Jump up and down in the water - have you noticed how jumping up from the water gives you whole new power - you can really get high with those water jumps! Try it - it's fun!

Pushing off underwater from the side of the pool and just feeling that wonderful sensation as your body streams along, weightless and energised until you float gently to the surface.

Diving down to the bottom and pushing up again to re-surface with a splash...

Lying on your back - totally relaxed - let your whole body just hang loose. And feel the way your body floats, how the water supports you, how any tension immediately becomes obvious as you mindfully direct your attention to that part of your body.

And if you really want to awaken your dormant playful child, buy yourself and a couple of friends a water pistol each ... and just go down to the pool and have some real swimming fun!

Being in the water is one of the most natural human activities ... so natural in fact, that we may even be the only primate to have actually lived a semi-aquatic existence, many, many thousands of years ago.

Read more about our semi-aquatic past.

And of course we all started our lives bobbing around in amniotic fluid inside our mum's tums ...

Now maybe that explains why it's such fun getting wet!

Published July 10th 2011.

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