Why do whales breach and jump out of the water? One reason is because barnacles make their skin itchy. But anyone who has seen a whale breaching, especially when there is a crowd watching, may get the idea that they also do it just for fun.
Dolphins have the same sense of joy. Just like us, they do it because they love it.
The water is the perfect place to get fit. Water supports the weight of the body and reduces stress on joints. Swimming is low impact but beneficial to the whole body. It is aerobic, improves cardiovascular fitness, and can burn fat when undertaken regularly.
Many people love to swim, but not everyone. Often a persons first thought about swimming is, “I can’t really breathe properly”, or “I feel exhausted at the end of one lap”.
Most adult swimmers can be divided into two groups; those who can’t swim, and those who would enjoy swimming more if they had a chance to improve their swimming stroke. Even competent swimmers can benefit from having a trained coach give them a few tips. Most adults can greatly improve their stroke in three or four half-hour classes and can then vary their swimming exercises to maximise fitness and enjoyment.
Whilst swimming once meant following the straight black line up and down the centre of the lane, many pools now offer a wide range of water-based exercises catering for all levels of fitness and ability. If you are just learning to swim, you will find that many pools cater for adults in their learn-to-swim programs and will start with exercises to develop water confidence and flotation skills designed for the individual needs.
For those less fond of laps, aquarobics is a vigorous, low-impact form of exercise which combines swimming skills and aerobics. Classes can cater to people who want a really good work-out, utilising the resistance of the water to develop strength and endurance, or can be tuned to the needs of older and less able swimmers, with classes based on gentle exercises in the shallow end of the pool.
While traditionally hydrotherapy has been undertaken at hospitals and rehabilitation centres, some local pools now have warm-water exercise pools for those recovering from injury or trauma or just wanting to pamper themselves with a truly relaxing warm-water experience. You might even be lucky enough to get the warm-water pool on your own!
For all the fun of the beach and more, try a wave pool, where enjoyment and exercise go hand in hand. As all surfers (and dolphins) know, the toughest part of surfing is getting out through the waves. Swimming or playing in even a gentle wave pool strengthens muscles, develops balance and builds the confidence needed to achieve the main purpose of swimming fun!