Swimming for Fitness

I got into lap swimming about ten years ago when I first started having back problems.  And I recommend it to anyone who will listen to me!  

If you have any injuries, aches, or pains, the water is for you.  It is a great cardiovascular workout that uses the whole body with no pressure on any of your joints.  

If you don’t know how to swim, there are lessons available for adults at most pools.  

Or consider classes like water aerobics or underwater spinning, also called “hydro-spinning” or “aqua cycling.”  

You can always just get in with a kick board and kick about for a lower body workout.  

If you want to try the water for your workouts, here are things I’ve learned over the years:

My Suggestions for Water Workouts

Plus Size Swimsuit for Lap Swimming - Plus Size Aquatard

1 – Find a pool that you like enough to go to all the time.  Try it out a few times or more before signing up.  

I started swimming at a Olympic sized pool that Michael Phelps once trained in.  I thought: what’s not to love?  

Turns out, a lot of things!  I need certain comforts.  The pool was kept at a cool temperature year-round for the athletes.  I am not an athlete.  So once the summer faded I was left freezing and didn’t want to go.  

Ask about the temperature ahead of time.  

You will also be showering so be sure the locker room meets your needs of cleanliness and amenities.  

And obviously it should be close to your work or home with easy parking, etc.  Basically, set yourself up for success.

2 – Add music.  Music helps me swim faster for longer and keeps me from getting bored.  

You are going to want a waterproof iPod and waterproof headphones.  

I currently use this waterproof shuffle and these headphones.  

I used to go through headphones all the time because the chlorine eats them.  

But maybe because I swim in saltwater these days or this product is just really good, my current headphones have lasted the longest, so I highly recommend them.

3 – Stay hydrated.  You won’t realize it, but you are sweating in the water.  

It’s very easy to become dehydrated.  Keep a water bottle on the edge of the pool.

4 – Protect your hair.  I don’t wear a swim cap because I get too hot.  

But if it doesn’t bother you, wearing one does protect your locks.  

To keep my hair in good shape I use chlorine removing shampoo and a deep conditioner.Plus Size Swimsuit for Lap Swimming - Plus Size Swimsuit

5 – Get a chlorine-resistant swimsuit with good coverage.  

When I first started lap swimming, I used a tankini I bought from Target.  

I was swimming about four days a week and the chlorine destroyed my suit within about two months.  

And I was constantly having to check and adjust “the girls” while keeping the top low enough to keep my stomach covered.  

I learned pretty quickly that investing in a good suit is totally worth it.  

Some can be pricey, but you’ll be throwing out partially disintegrated swimsuits frequently if they’re not chlorine resistant, so trust me, they pay for themselves.

Consider how much coverage you want.  High necklines, shorts and leggings make it so I never fear anything is exposed in the water.  After all I’m working out, not lounging on the beach.

Be sure to follow instructions on cleaning and caring for your suit to extend its life.

Where to Shop for Plus Size Chlorine Resistant Swimsuits

Always for MePlus Size Swimsuit for Lap Swimming

Juno Active

Swimsuits for All 

I hope you found this helpful!  I genuinely love swimming and think its a great way to exercise.  Its been life-changing.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means if you click on or purchase through certain links, I may receive a small commission.

15 thoughts on “Swimming for Fitness

  1. thank you so much alexa. the information you gave on swimming is such a good idea, not only for myself but my husband as well who was injured several years ago at work and has been disabled since. you truely are my new best friend. lol 🙂

    1. Lol. Thanks, Lisa! Swimming has been one of the greatest discoveries of my adult life. At one point I couldn’t walk or sit without excruciating pain and all of my muscles were atrophying. I was becoming so weak. So my mom would take me to the pool because it literally hurt too much to drive, I would lay down in her back seat. But I could swim! I truly believe swimming gave me my life back. And now with my newer injuries/complications, I’m trying to avoid a spinal fusion by rehabbing myself in the pool. I can’t recommend it enough! Let me know if I can offer any more tips.

  2. Do you have any suggestions for how to pack a gym bag? Between change of clothes, shower stuff, towel, place to put wet swimsuit, hair stuff, etc., I feel like I’ve packed for a week-long trip.

    1. The struggle is real! I’m very fortunate that the gym I currently go to offers some nice amenities such as towels, plastic bags for dirty/wet clothes and a spin machine that spins out your suit to nearly dry in seconds. But I didn’t always have these luxuries!

      I used to take a rolling bag, like a small carry-on size. It seems ridiculous, but a surprising number of people do this. Always bring either plastic grocery bags or small garbage bag(s) with enough room for wet stuff, including your towel, flip flops/shower shoes, and possibly the bottles you take into the shower. I always rinse my suit thoroughly in the shower after I take it off.

      Nowadays I use travel sized bottles like these: http://amzn.to/2iloxOd for everything, including my after-shower stuff, like moisturizer and hair products. It really condenses everything.

      I keep the shower stuff separate in a small shower tote so I don’t have to take anything extra into the shower area. In fact now I leave that tote on a hook by the showers before heading into the pool so its already there once I’m dripping and cold. No more back and forth for this girl! 😉

      I also keep my “swim suff” (ipod, headphones, goggles, water bottle, flip flops) in a separate bag so I know I’ve got it all when I’m headed from the locker room to the pool. And I’ve learned to create an “auxiliary” make up bag w the basics I use regularly so I don’t have to think about it. And if I am going somewhere after I can look “put together” because I’ll always have my favorites in my gym bag.

      So basically, its a lot of little bags in a big bag. 🙂

      As for extra clothes, it depends on where I’m coming from or going. But leggings, sports bra and t-shirt are great because they fold up small. If I am just going to and from home I’ll put my same clothes back on. If I’m headed to work or “out”, I usually have to plan out my clothes and pack ahead of time.

      I hope this helps. The organization of the smaller bags for each activity- pool, shower, after-shower products, make up, wet stuff, really keeps me from losing my mind. Lol

      1. Thanks! I’d never considered a rolling bag; I’ll just have to come up with a doable system for my many tiny components. 🙂

      2. This system was GREAT! (I used it for the first time this morning.) It was neat; it was easy; it was mobile; it was quick. I bought one of those gym-to-swim suits, and so I didn’t have a extra set of clothes, and I changed into a knit wrap dress that takes up almost no space in my bag. Thanks!

  3. Thank you x 3! I’ve wanted to learn how to swim for years but always balked at too revealing swimwear. Now with leggings and shorts, and tops with sleeves lol, I can finally move forward.

    Can you tell us more about saltwater swimming? Sounds amazing.

    1. Great to hear, Shelley! A lot of gyms in my area are switching to salt, which is some sort of chemical process that turns into chlorine. But its less irritating to the skin and eyes and you’re more buoyant in the water. I can definitely swim faster in a salt water pool!

  4. Have a saltwater pool and I really liked exercising it! Finding the right exercises for me would be great! Any suggestions on where to get instructions or videos on DYI Home pool exercises? By the way found you by accident on Pinterest and now I’m addicted – thanks for all your insight

  5. Thank you!!! This is such great advice! I think I’ll take it!!! Wonderful, I can’t say it enough. There are no words for how your blog is transforming me, for the better. For the first time in years, I feel good about myself. Getting in better shape by swimming is just what I needed to consider!

  6. It’s tough to get the confidence to go swimming. Truth be told, I hate the icky sweating feeling from most exercise but swimming is refreshing as well! 😀

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