1. No gear required
Who doesn’t prefer their exercise pure and simple? Grab a bunch of bathers and a pair of goggles, and you are good to go. (Maybe add a towel.) Sure, you will eventually look at swimming caps and paddles and pull buoys and fins and even swimming fabrics – plus lots of other stuff. But as long as you have your swimwear and goggles, there is nothing else you absolutely need. I always carry these items in a small plastic bag with me – unlike footballs, tennis rackets or runners’ shoes, they easily go into every shoulder bag or office case that I have.
2. It is the perfect workout, no matter what age
That is all there is to it. The water carries you, your aching joints, your lousy posture, your body just as it is. I can’t think of any other sport that is so good at toning, stretching and relaxing your body. Irrespective of how old you are.
You push off the wall and world goes silent. Swimming is meditative and beautiful. It is an amazing anti-depressant. It is….ah now I want to head to the pool!
4. No smell of sweat
You will not finish the work-out feeling hot and exhausted, and smelling the part. As any swimmer will tell you, the smell of chlorine can be better than any perfume.
5. No classism or showing off
If you are busy ploughing through the water – or simply luxuriating in happy, slow lap swims –, you are not worried about what brand or colour goggles the person in the next lane is wearing. Unlike other sports, swimming is at heart egalitarian. Even on the competitive side of swimming (which is only a tiny part of the sport), at the end of the day it is not about what brand your bathers are.
6. No gender bias
You can swim with your hubby / wife or a mixed group of friends. And guys: unless you are Michael Phelps, there will always be a female swimmer who is faster.
7. You can do it all year round and almost everywhere
Pools are everywhere, and then there’s the natural bodies of water. The variety is part of the attraction as much as the routine of your favourite water hole. I have swum in the Mediterranean, the Atlantic Ocean, Pacific, Indian and (haphazardly) in the Dead Sea. In countless lakes and more pools. But I love my regular spots the most. Mine is not quite as spectacular as the one Brent Pearson took a picture of below. (CC Image)