When is the Best Time to Go Swimming?
Are you working long and hard to get a swimmer’s body? Think long, lean, sculpted muscles… insert mental image of Michael Phelps. Now you know what I’m talking about! But in all seriousness, swimming is a great way to work your muscles and get your heart rate up. Plus, thanks to buoyancy, it’s easier on the ligaments and fit for pretty much anyone.
Whether you’re new to swimming or have been at it for years, there are probably some questions you have. For instance, how long does it take to swim a mile? Or how can I swim freestyle without getting tired? In the world of swimming, there are plenty of questions to ask and most always an answer!
One question that I underestimated was when is the best time to go swimming? I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t think the time of day would make much of a difference. But to my surprise, I was wrong! While there is no wrong or right time to swim, there are definitely pros and cons to each time of day.
The Science Behind When to Swim
It’s easy to assume we know when is the best time to go swimming. For instance, I figured the best time to swim would be early in the morning. Don’t ask me why — I just took an educated guess. But what does science say about when is the best time to go swimming?
To my surprise, most studies claim that the best time for swimming is early in the evening because the temperature of your muscles are at their peak. This means that your body’s metabolic process is higher and the energy metabolism of the muscles is also higher. To put it in simpler terms, your muscles will get the most out of swimming during this time of day.
This means your body’s metabolic process is higher and the energy metabolism of the muscles is higher.
The answer seems easy enough, right? Except here’s the plot twist: this time of day might not be the right answer for you and your body. Every single person is different. Our biological clocks are different. We all have our own schedules, do things in our own time, and go through our own daily routine. These play a factor into when is the best time to go swimming.
Let’s take a day shift nurse versus a night shift nurse, for example. One gets off of work around 6:30 p.m. while the other goes in around that time then continues to work overnight. Obviously they have two very different schedules and an evening swim just might not work into that mix. The best time of day for you may also differ from what science suggests.
Swimming in the Morning
Are you a morning person? I most definitely am not. There are rare occasions where I like to get my workout in first thing. But those moments are definitely a dime a dozen. However, if you are a morning person, then that might be when it is the best time to go swimming for you!
A few advantages of going swimming in the morning are:
- It gives you energy for the rest of your day. Kicking off your day with a nice morning swim will help get your energy levels up for the long day ahead.
- Testosterone levels are higher in the morning. A higher testosterone level means it’s easier to keep up the pace during your morning swim.
- Starts the day off peacefully. Spending your morning swimming is a peaceful way to start the day off right. If you don’t have a pool and have to use a public one, there will probably be less of a crowd in the morning time too!
- You get done early. Completing a morning swim means you don’t have to wait the rest of the day to get your workout in.
- Less chance of sunburn. Nobody enjoys getting a sunburn! Swimming in the morning is a great way to avoid those high UV rays that come out in the afternoon.
While swimming in the morning has advantages, it has disadvantages too. A few to take into account are:
- Water might be colder. There’s a good chance the water temperature will be cooler in the morning because the sun hasn’t been out to warm it up.
- Reduced visibility. Light conditions aren’t as great in the morning time, and there’s a possibility fog can set in. These are important factors to take into consideration because it can make it more difficult and dangerous when trying to swim.
- Your body isn’t at 100%. If you swim in the morning, keep in mind that your body isn’t fully awake like it would be in the afternoon or evening.
- Less chance of lifeguards on duty. Depending on where you go swimming, there may not be lifeguards on duty early in the morning.
Swimming at Lunch Time
If you are like me, then lunch time is where you thrive. It’s easier for me to squeeze that workout in because I work from home. But I’ve found if I procrastinate too long then there’s a probability I won’t be working out at all that day! Here are some things to know about swimming at lunch time.
Advantages of swimming in the afternoon are:
- Warmer water. Once afternoon time rolls around, the water should be warm and ready for you! Be mindful that it isn’t too hot, so you don’t risk becoming dehydrated or overheating.
- Your muscles are warm. Already having been through your morning routine, it has helped to warm your body up. This means you might only need a light warm-up before you begin your workout.
- Stress relief. Many people find that swimming in the afternoon is a great way to relieve stress, especially if it’s been a hectic morning.
Disadvantages of swimming in the afternoon include:
- Higher risk of sunburn. The sun’s rays are at their peak in the afternoon, which means there’s more risk of getting sunburned.
- More crowds to fight. Swimming in the afternoon means the crowds will be larger. If you’re a social swimmer, then this may not bother you! However, if you’re wanting to exercise, then afternoon may not be the best time to swim.
- More risk. It’s hotter than in the morning or in the evening, which means you have a higher risk of dehydration or overheating.
Swimming in the Evening
When is the best time to go swimming? As science has already stated, evening is the best time to go swimming. Of course, there are advantages and disadvantages that you should consider before diving in!
Advantages of swimming during the evening include:
- No risk of sunburn. There’s no risk of sunburn if the sun has already gone down, which means you’re less likely to get burned. This also lessens your chances of skin cancer because of less exposure to UV lights.
- Muscles are at peak performance. Once you reach the end of the day, your body has spent several hours stretching and warming up which makes your workout more effective.
- Longer recovery time. When you go for an evening swim, your body gets a longer time to recover rather than going straight from swimming to work or running errands.
Disadvantages of swimming at night are:
- It might be harder to sleep. While exercising regularly can help improve your quality of sleep, exercising at night can make it harder for you to fall asleep. So, if you go for an evening swim, try to do it at least one hour before you go to bed.
- It’s darker out. Swimming in the dark can be very dangerous, especially in an open body of water. If you do plan to go swimming in the evening, try to go to an indoor pool.
- Less chance of lifeguards on duty. Everywhere is different, but many places do not have lifeguards on duty during the evening.
You might think it wouldn’t make much difference what time of the day you swim. So, when is the best time to go swimming? Studies have shown the best time to go swimming is in the early evening because the temperature of your muscles are at their peak. While this is great scientifically, it doesn’t mean that swimming in the evening is best for everybody. People are different and have different schedules. You will need to experiment and find when is the best time to go swimming for yourself. You may find the best time is when you can work it into your busy schedule.