Fitness Fitness

Why learning to swim could make you a better rugby player

Sink or swim

We’d go for swim everytime! In 2015, the UK announced some very sobering statistics; it recorded a worrying figure of 321 people dying from drowning; most of these were males with the deaths occurring in lakes and the sea as they either decided to cool down on a hot day or were messing around with friends. Although the dangers of such activities are widely reported in the media, the advice is often ignored by teenagers who are unaware of the dangers of open water swimming and the associated undercurrents which can be lethal. This serves to highlight just how vital learning to swim is. On a less sombre note, it is also a perfect complement to any training regime.

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The benefits

Swimming really can help with training for many other sports, and can, for example, be introduced as a sport to complement rugby training drills. And speaking of rugby, combining swimming with rugby training really does have specific benefits. A rugby player’s body can become worn down with the intensity of the game – from scrums to physical impact with other players – so swimming can not only heal but help too.

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Flex it

Swimming is a fabulous way to increase flexibility; in essence, it lengthens muscles due to the range associated with most swimming strokes. For rugby players, such flexibility will help to avoid back injuries in a low scrum as well as pulled and torn muscles from the impact of the game.

Top for cardio

It’s a well-known fact that swimmers have excellent lung capacity. Keeping cardiovascular in many other sports – and most definitely in the game of rugby – (check this out, if you want good results) in between seasons or when recovering from injuries is a great way to maintain fitness off the pitch and remain physically in good shape.

Injury-free sport

One of the best things about swimming is that it has no impact, one of the rare sports that doesn’t; so, if an athlete is recovering from injury – and there are plenty of those on the rugby field – taking to the water can be very therapeutic, reducing inflammation and rebuilding muscle strength. Swimming also has mental health benefits too as swimmers can enjoy peace and calm in the pool.