Swimming seems like an intimidating workout but it doesn’t have to be

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As the weather starts to cool down, it can be hard to find the motivation to work out. It’s much easier to start settling into your “winter body.”

You know the one.

It’s fueled by holiday cookies, Netflix marathons and hidden under comfy sweaters. It provides you with a little more insulation for the colder temps and it’s really hard to get rid of come swimsuit season.

This year, in an attempt to avoid letting myself go in full on hibernation mode, I’ve decided to mix up my work out routine by taking up swimming.

Yep, swimming.

I’m going to be honest, swimming as a workout is pretty intimidating to me.

The last time I swam laps in a pool was in first grade. I was on the swim team at Sardis Forest Swim Club and even though I had a promising back stroke, I retired after one season.

Since then, my swimming experiences have been exclusively recreational and usually involve me standing in a pool, holding a red solo cup.

But I’ve been told time and time again that swimming is a great full body workout so I decided to look into it.

Here’s what I found:

Swimming targets your whole body.

There aren’t many workouts that hit everything at one time but swimming is one of them. According to Jeffrey Cayo, a physical therapist at OrthoCarolina, swimming gets your upper body, core and lower body all at once. In other words, it’s like one-stop shop.

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It’s low-impact but highly effective.

Cayo says that swimming puts “less stress on weight bearing joints such as the hips, knees and ankles.” This means you are still getting a highly effective workout without putting as much wear-and-tear on your body.

Cayo specifically recommends swimming for runners. “Not only is swimming an excellent complement to a running program, it provides intense aerobic training that reduces injuries to the runner by working other muscle groups that are otherwise not utilized and allowing others the rest needed from training,” he says.

You don’t need to already be an avid swimmer.

Like I said, the last time I actually swam laps was in elementary school. You don’t need to be Michael Phelps. Just start wherever you are, go at your own pace and build up your endurance.

If you want to strengthen your swimming skills, take an adult swimming class.

dowd ymca pool

Yes, you will need to find a pool to join.

There are quite a few gyms and fitness clubs that have indoor pools. Go check them out and find a facility you feel comfortable with.

I like the YMCA the best and many of their branches offer indoor, heated pools. Find the closest one here.

You don’t need a ton of gear.

All you need is a swimsuit, pair of goggles and a towel. Swim cap optional.

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It’s going to feel weird at first. Just go with it.

If you aren’t used to swimming regularly, it’s going to feel a bit strange at first. Go with the flow and eventually your body will get used to the routine.

(This content was co-created with OrthoCarolina.)

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