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Why learning to swim will make you a better rugby player
This May, it might be time to dive in at the deep end and get out of your comfort zone. On 18 May 2019, it’s International Learn to Swim day. It’s an excellent opportunity to emphasise the importance of teaching children to swim, especially with summer right around the corner.
But even if you can already swim, it doesn’t mean you can’t get something out of the day. There’s no reason it can’t be a day to enjoy swimming as an activity. And there’s plenty of reason to add it to your training regime no matter what sport you play.
Raising awareness this International Learn to Swim day
In 2015, 321 people lost their lives to accidental drownings in the UK. Most of these deaths occurred at the beach/shore (95) and in rivers (86), and were mostly male. Statistics like this highlight just how important it is to learn how to swim.
But International Learn to Swim day has a brighter side too. It’s a day that can motivate those of us who ‘just haven’t got round to it’ to put our money where our mouth is and take the plunge. This includes athletes who might miss out on the vast benefits swimming can bring as part of a training plan for other sports.
There are specific advantages to swimming that make it an excellent activity for rugby players in particular. When you want to become more explosive, stronger, and faster to smash through the other team’s defences, you can’t beat sprinting, lifting, and jumping training. But, these activities all take their toll on your body, which swimming might help with in a number of ways...
It’s not yoga or pilates, but swimming is still a great way to improve your flexibility. Because of the wide range of motion involved in most swim strokes, swimming helps you lengthen your muscles in all directions. For rugby players, this is excellent news as it helps you get low during scrums without injuring your back and helps you resist injury from pulled muscles or tears.
It’s no secret that swimming is one of the best sports to create amazing cardiovascular fitness. Swimmers have some of the biggest lung capacities in the world of sport. If you swim frequently, and have the technique down, you’ll see results in no time. Many active rugby players will already be quite fit. But, between seasons, or during injury recovery, swimming is a great way to maintain your cardiovascular fitness. Which brings us to our next point...
The excellent thing about swimming is it provides all the cardiovascular benefits that most other forms of cardio do, but without the impact you would experience with running, for example. This means if you’re recovering from an injury (which most rugby players will probably be at some point or other), have strained your joints, or are feeling a little sore, you can get a therapeutic full-body workout. Swimming in cold water can help reduce inflammation and you can rebuild strength in your muscles without injuring them further. Just ask the Welsh rugby team.
As a rugby player, cross-training with swimming could be one of the best things you can do for your body, helping you become a better player. It keeps you fit, can be therapeutic, and prevents injury. If you need any new swimwear, head on over to Maru. But the first step to injury prevention in contact sports is having the right protective equipment.
As the official mouthguards of England Rugby, we know the importance of staying safe and protected. Our Power-fit gum shields come in a huge variety of colours and designs, and mould perfectly to your teeth offering maximum protection and comfort. Click here to shop our mouthguards by sport, or if you need to get in touch, give us a call on 01442 430 692.