Swimming is a great workout, but when is the best time of day to swim if you have limited hours in your workday?
As a general rule, the best time to swim is the time that fits with your schedule. Although some research points to a morning swim before breakfast as being the most beneficial for weight loss, outside of weight loss, the best time to swim is when it suits you.
As someone who has been a morning, afternoon, and evening swimmer, I have noticed different things about each time of day.
The morning slot is usually full of serious fitness swimmers and it is busy and fast.
The afternoon sessions are often full of leisure swimmers and the pace is much slower, and moderately busy.
The early evening is dominated by children or fast lane swimmers trying to fit in a swim after work.
Finally, the late evening sessions are usually quiet, with a mixture of leisure and fitness swimmers.
Of course, this will vary depending on your local pool, but I have found certain patterns repeating no matter where I swim.
In this article, I will look at the different times of day in greater depth, and hopefully, you can get an appreciation of when the best time to swim for your needs is.
When Is The Best Time To Swim, Considering Other Swimmers?
When I think about the best time to swim, I consider how busy my local pool is at certain times.
I like a quiet pool, so I can swim at my own pace without feeling the pressure to speed up or slow down because of other lane swimmers.
No matter where you are in the world, swimming pools have a similar schedule and busy periods. It is funny how we all seem to march to the beat of the same drum.
Here is what a typical weekday swimming pool schedule looks like.
This is based on my experience of visiting many pools over different times and seeing the same patterns repeat.
|Time Of Day
|Type Of Swimmer
|Type Of Swimming
|6am – 8am
|Serious Fitness Lane Swimmers
|At this time of day, you find lots of fast lane swimming and swimmers who are motivated and eager to get their laps in. Easy to predict how busy it is, as it is usually full of the same regulars.
|8am – 11am
|Health & Leisure Swimmers
|At this time of day, you will find a lot of retired swimmers who are swimming for fitness but not at a competitive pace, or those who are in less of a hurry and want a leisure swim before the rest of their day.
|11am – 3pm
|Mixed Batch: You tend to get a wide variety of swimmers. It can be mostly leisure swimming but the occasional fitness swimmer. This time is hard to predict, as often people pop in because they fancy a swim.
|3pm – 7pm
|Busy Pool Time
|Busy Pool: A mixture of serious fitness swimmers completing fast lane times on their way home for work and children tend to dominate most pools at this time.
|7pm – 9pm
|Lane Users & Casual Swimmers
|Quiet Time: A mixture of fitness swimmers or swimming enthusiasts winding down from the day.
You have to consider the fact that there are different pool users, for example, lane swimmers and casual swimmers.
Lane swimmers are those who need to swim laps at a pace fast enough where it is impossible to keep up with the conversation.
Casual swimmers want an environment where they can feel comfortable talking while they swim.
It might be useful to establish what type of swimmer you are and experiment with different times of day to find a time that suits you.
There are a few pros and cons to swimming first thing in the morning.
Here are some of the most important ones:
The Pros Of Morning Swimming:
- You’ll start your day with a workout, which is always a good way to get things going
- Swimming is a great way to wake up your body and get moving
- You will have lots of energy for the rest of the day.
- You can maintain a happy mood for most of the day.
- The best time of day for weight loss.
The Cons Of Morning Swimming:
- It can be tough to get up early enough to make it to the pool or gym before work
- You might not have enough time to get a full workout in before you have to head to work.
How To Motivate Yourself To Swim In The Morning:
One way to motivate yourself to get up early for a swim is to set a goal for yourself.
If you have something to work towards, you’ll be more likely to make the effort to get up on time.
Another great way to push yourself is to find a friend or family member who also wants to swim in the morning and set a time for all of you to meet.
This will give you some accountability and ensure that you don’t miss your workout. Whatever method you choose, just make sure that you have a plan in place so that you’re more likely to succeed!
What To Eat Before You Swim In The Morning
There are plenty of great breakfast options to choose from before swimming.
One of the best things you can do is to eat something that will give you energy and help keep you going throughout your workout.
Personally, I just have a banana before my morning swim and then enjoy a full breakfast afterwards!
Some good pre-swim choices include:
- Oatmeal: This is a great choice because it’s high in fibre and will help keep you full throughout your swim.
- Bananas: These are a great source of potassium, which helps to regulate fluid levels in the body. They’re also a good source of carbohydrates, which provide energy for working out.
- Yogurt: This is a good source of protein and calcium, both of which are important for maintaining energy levels and preventing cramps.
- Peanut Butter: Peanut butter is high in healthy fats, protein, magnesium, potassium, niacin (B3), phosphorus, vitamin E and selenium. Make sure to choose natural peanut butter to avoid added sugars or preservatives that can cause stomachaches.
It is possible to have breakfast before you swim, but it will mean getting up early!
So if you wake up at 6am, with enough time to eat beforehand, then you should aim to be at the pool by 7am.
Keep these hours in mind when scheduling your swim workout for optimal results and bear in mind some experimentation may be needed. For example, you might find that it is OK to swim on an empty stomach, or you might find that pre-swim solids do not work for you.
With some experimentation, you will find what works best for you as there is no one set of advice that works for everyone.
Swimming during your lunch break can be a great way to break up the workday and get some exercise.
It can also help you relax and feel refreshed for the afternoon. However, there are some things to keep in mind before you take the plunge.
Swimming during your lunch break can be very limited if you don’t live close to an actual pool. If you’re going to give swimming during your lunch break a try, it’s important to know what the available options are in your area.
You also need to ensure you have access to good changing facilities so you can look good if you need to return to work. For example, sitting at a desk with long wet hair for an afternoon can be very uncomfortable.
It is also important to ensure you have enough time to actually eat your lunch if you are squeezing a swim in on your lunch break.
Eating a balanced meal before swimming is important. You need to make sure that you have enough energy for your workout, and you don’t want to be swimming on an empty stomach.
It is also a good idea to drink a glass of water before you swim as well. This ensures that you are properly hydrated and ready for the pool!
Swimming in the afternoon can be a great way to get in a workout.
Swimming in the afternoon is also a good way to clear your mind and ease your muscles after a long day at the office.
Here are some of the pros and cons of swimming in the afternoon:
The Pros Of Afternoon Swimming
- Swimming in the afternoon can be a great way to break up the workday and get some exercise
- Typically much quieter time to swim if children are still in school.
The Cons Of Afternoon Swimming
- It can be difficult to find a time to swim if you don’t have a flexible schedule in the afternoon.
Swimming after work can help you relax and refresh for the evening. It is a great way to chase away all the stress of the day.
The Pros Of Evening Swimming
Here are some of the pros and cons of swimming in the evening:
- Swimming in the evening can be a great way to relax after a long day
- Swimming in the evening can help you unwind and get you ready for bed.
The Cons Of Evening Swimming
- The pool can be particularly busy, meaning you might find it tough to get a free lane.
- It has been reported that swimming too close to your bedtime can energise you, so you do not feel ready to sleep.
What Is The Best Time Of Year To Swim?
The best time of year to swim varies depending on where you are in the world. In general, the best time to swim is when the weather is hot and sunny.
Indoor pools are also a great way to get some exercise without having to worry about the weather. You can swim any time of day, and you don’t have to worry about getting sunburned.
However, indoor pools also have their drawbacks. One major drawback is that the pool can be very crowded during the summer.
You may have to wait in line to use the pool, and it can be difficult to find a spot to swim.
Pool swimming in the winter can be a great way to get some exercise and stay warm. However, there are some things you need to consider before you go swimming.
First of all, you need to make sure the pool is open. Many lido pools close during the winter, or they may have limited hours.
You also need to make sure that outdoor pools are heated, otherwise, it will be too cold to swim in.
Swimming indoors in the winter is a fun and rewarding experience.
When everything else is cold and wet, being in a warm indoor pool can feel great and give you a wonderful feeling of exertion without putting yourself at risk of cold water.
The best time to swim is really a time that is suitable for you and one you can easily fit into your routine.
How busy your local pool is will vary depending on the time of day and you may want to factor this into your decision if a busy pool is something that puts you off.
Science has not given us a clear answer on what is the best time of day to swim for our health, but if you are looking to lose weight, then swimming in the morning before breakfast is more beneficial. [source]
I have tried swimming in the morning, afternoon, and evening and have found that the morning is more predictable.
With morning swimming, you tend to get the same people every day as they fit it in as part of their routine, unlike afternoon swimming, which is hard to predict.
With afternoon swimming, people tend to pop in just because they fancy a swim, therefore, you do not necessarily see the same regulars.
Whenever you swim, pick a time that works best for you so you can fit it into your routine.