WE have all jumped in the pool for a swim thinking: 'I'm just gonna smash out some laps'. 40 laps and a lot of daydreaming later we crawl out of the pool feeling just as lousy as when we jumped in an hour earlier. Hey, but at least we trained our body to be a better swimmer right? Nope, you didn't.
Dr Craig L. Manning states in his book The Fearless Mind; "The two most prominent areas of wasted energy are guilt and fear. The error many people make is constantly allowing their attention to dwell on the mistakes of the past (Guilt) or attend to what may or may not happen in the future (Fear). When we allow our minds to dwell too much on the past or attend to the future, it impinges on our ability to live in the moment and enjoy the reality of what life has to offer."
Being in the moment makes for better decision making and a good swim set is full of little decisions. 'Did I bent my elbow for the best catch?', 'Did I kick my legs at the right time to create good timing in my stroke?', 'Do I need to take a breath?' and so, so many more.
As Andy Puddycombe from the famous Headspace App explains about rowing workout in the morning: “I actually count the strokes in the same way that I would count my breath if I was meditating, and I'm just with one stroke at a time,” says Puddicombe. “It doesn't feel like an hour on the rower. It feels like lots of one-strokes.”
And this gives Andy the opportunity to be mindful about every single stroke he does, making each stroke a good one. So instead of doing a 1,000 average strokes and training to be an average swimmer, Andy performed 1,000 great strokes and the habit of swimming great.
To help you be more mindful when swimming, try these 5 components presented by Headspace:
Training starts before the actual workout, it's about setting the right intention and knowing what you will be doing. In other words, know the set you will be swimming before getting to the pool or knowing that you will be training with a coach you trust and you're mentally ready to give this your full attention.
Focus on controlled breathing throughout your whole swim session. Your body needs oxygen to perform and make us feel energised after a good session. Deep breaths into your belly and out fully will keep fatigue away for longer.
Swimming is all about getting into a rhythm and following a rhythm happens to be best way to become mindful while exercising. Don't force swimming, but instead find a rhythm in your stroke and focus on the ease of the movement.
An efficient swim stroke is all about having good form. Posture and alignment while performing your rhythmic strokes will make swimming feel easy. Headspace advises to stop thinking about reaching the end of the pool and start thinking about every single movement with good form.
While you enjoy your 10 seconds rest on the wall in between sets, stay alert and focus on your breathing. Keep your breathing under control and open your chest to get good and deep breaths. Be aware of how your body is feeling while letting it recover.
"Mindfulness + Workout = Results" ~ Headspace
Next time you are going for a swim, think about these 5 components and try to implement a couple. Like changing elements of your technique, becoming mindful takes time and practice.