Swimming workout for active recovery. (Image via Pexels / Tima Miroshinchenko)

20-Minute Swimming Workout for Active Recovery

There are many reasons why you should consider a swimming workout during your active recovery day.

Swimming is a full body, low impact exercise that helps strengthen your muscles, tones and elongates your body, and can even help improve your cardiovascular health.


Active recovery days are an important part of any fitness programme. That's because they allow your body the time to — yes, recover — from the stress and strain of vigorous exercise and help prevent injuries.

Swimming, like yoga and stretching, is a popular active rest-day activity that is both refreshing and helpful to your body.


Why Is Swimming a Good Form of Active Recovery?

Swimming workout. (Image credits: Pexels/ Jim de Ramos)

Swimming is a great option for active recovery. As opposed to running, for example, where your head is down, swimming allows you to rest without having to hold yourself upright. The horizontal movement of the water allows blood to reach your upper body effectively, so you can recover faster.

These active recovery workout sessions allow your body time to process lactic acid, a byproduct of your body converting glucose into energy, which enables your muscles to recover more quickly.

There are several reasons to add swimming to your workout routine. Swim recovery workouts offer a low-impact, full-body workout in the water. The best part? You can move your joints and muscles in all sorts of directions that you can't on land, meaning you get more bang for your buck while working out. Since there's constant resistance, your heart rate will stay elevated during your entire workout, which is great for fat loss.


How to do the 20-Minute Swimming Workout?

Getting started. (Image credits: Nick Rush)

It's best to give yourself 20 minutes before an early-morning swim, and to pack along swim accessories like a cap, goggles, kick board and pull buoy. Just remember the planning and preparation behind the workout, so that you don’t end up frustrated and disappointed as opposed to excited and accomplished.


  • Do two 50-meter breaststrokes with just your arms, keeping your legs closed together.
  • Then do two 50-meter kick sets on your back, holding onto the foam board, kicking with just your legs and feet.


  • Swim 25 meters freestyle with your hands in a normal position. Then swim 100 meters freestyle with one arm out of the water, followed by two kicks and switching arms.
  • When kicking, keep your arms in a streamlined position. Swim 100 meters freestyle breathing every third stroke.
  • Then swim another 50 meters freestyle at a slower pace.


Rest easy, and swim at a slow pace for 100 meters.


Swimming is a great exercise for those on an active recovery day and muscular endurance. It allows for a full-body workout, which is something that many other activities don't do as effectively.

If you want to get the most out of your active recovery swim, remember: warm up; loosen up; keep your cool in the pool area; focus on technique, and don't forget to breathe.

The end goal of an active recovery workout is simple: to get you back in action faster and more comfortably so that you can again be free to pursue other leisure activities or hobbies.


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