Swimming provides an all-over body workout. It’s easy to believe that only really the arms get a good session from a swim, but actually you’ll be using your core muscles to support yourself, your hip flexors play a crucial role in kicking, and your calfs propel you forwards in the water.
Swimming is also a great way to boost cardiovascular fitness, and it can improve your lung capacity (great for those ‘can’t breathe’ efforts on the bike).
As it’s not weight bearing, many athletes, such as Nicole Cooke, have used swimming as a form of cross training when recovering from an injury, or indeed when pregnant. The downside here is that neither swimming or cycling are weight bearing, which means neither exercise will strengthen your joints and bones.
In addition, swimming effectively requires a fair amount of technique – but if you’re planning on splashing about regularly, there are loads of great local swimming clubs who welcome ‘masters’ (over 25’s). You never know, you might even take to it like a fish and try a few competitions!