Swimming For My Sanity – And Why Swimming Is Such Great Exercise For Mums

Swimming at Freshwater Pool

Doing laps at the ocean pool at Freshwater Beach

I went swimming a few times last week and my mental health is far better for it.

What is it about being immersed in water that makes one feel better all over, inside and out?

I don’t know how it happens but I know for sure it does.

A very pregnant friend and I did some laps in a pool. Then I swam with the kids down at Dee Why one day. We’d been snorkelling at Shelly Beach the weekend before, and yesterday we were all splashing around in our back yard pool.

So good for the brain but swimming is bloody good exercise too.  I’m so grateful to my parents for braving the Scottish chill and getting us all swimming as kids.

swimmer at North Sydney pool

My Mum and Dad used to take the four of us swimming to a beautiful old Victorian pool in Edinburgh every Saturday morning.

When we moved to the countryside a pool was built in the next town and we swam in the swimming club.

Thanks Mum and Dad, I’m proud to pass on the love of swimming and splashing and playing ‘sharks’ to my own boisterous bairns.


We love swimming as a family because:

* it’s relatively cheap

* it’s relatively easy

* you can do it in so many place; pools, the ocean, rock pools and even rivers.

* it wears the kids out completely

Swimming Training For Fitness

Although I had swum 20 laps at a time for decades, I didn’t really push myself until a couple of years ago when I started going to a swimming for fitness squad.

There we swam for one hour, wearing flippers a lot of the time, and getting coached on technique and taught all sorts of drills. We usually swam about 2km, though I managaed much less to start with.

This swimming really helped my fitness and stamina. My stroke improved a lot. It was a big part part of kick starting my weight loss/healthier and harder exercise regime.

If you do a variety of strokes, swimming really does exercise all the muscle groups, and aids stamina and cardiovascular fitness. It doesn’t strain your joints at all, which was great for me when my knees get sore.

Pool bridge

My very favourite swimming pool in Sydney, swim backstroke away from the Bridge and drink in the views.


Ocean Swimming With Can Too

Last summer’s ocean swim training with Can Too was just the best next step, really challenging physically and mentally. At times it was really scary, but with a great team of coaches and mentors, I did the Palm Beach to Whale Beach Big Swim, slow but succesful. Amazing!


How Many Calories Will Swimming Burn?

I try to think of exercise as being for fitness and my heart.  

Eating food sensibly is  the key to weight control. However, you can’t get away from the fact that swimming is a big calorie burner.

Steady swimming: 90-220kcal

Moderate swimming : 150-370kcal

Hard swimming: 220-550kcal

So when I swim for an hour, that’s a LOT of calories.

This summer, I am aiming to do a lot more swimming in the sea and in ocean pools. Can’t wait for Can Too training to re-start in early November.

See my post on this post for a list of my favourite rock pools and ocean baths for laps.

Swimming lovers, please do hop over to visit my new website Swim The World Travel!


It’s got to be good for us.

But more than anything, swimming makes me feel so alive.

Are you a swimmer too?

Do you swim for your brain or your body or both?

 Happy  splashing,



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Posted on: October 14, 2013


  • Reply October 14, 2013


    I don’t swim and I wish I did but I hate water on my face so breast stroke is about all I can manage if I do land up getting in the water and I’m not just jumping around to cool down !!!
    Go you – I think swimming for you is like walking/running for me – it’s good for me (most of the time) and it gives me a chance to clear my head.
    Have the best day !

    • Reply October 14, 2013

      Seana Smith

      My running is not happening at all at the moment because I hurt my knee, which is a bit of an old war wound anyway, very unreliable. I had been missing my gentle jogs, so swimming again feels great. It does sound as if we get just the same stuff out of it. Have a great week.

  • Reply October 15, 2013


    I love swimming! Me too I’m so glad I was able to learn how to swim with my brothers when I was younger. It’s such a great exercising and it relaxes all my body.

  • Reply October 18, 2013

    Desire Empire

    I don’t do a lot of swimming because I am not keen on showing off my body. Weirdly I have had two recreational swims already this season. I think whatever exercise you choose, it certainly gives you a bit of head space and for me that is why it’s so enjoyable.

  • Reply November 13, 2013


    Seana, I read your post about getting back to ocean swimming (I love the Aussie’s calling it the “ocean” rather than the sea). Then reading this post, I realise that our love of swimming does start from our early years. I was fortunate to live in warm climes when I was a kid, and if there’s one thing a miss the most about England, it’s decent outdoor swimming opportunities.

    Go Can Too’ers !!!

    • Reply November 13, 2013

      Seana Smith

      It is CLEARLY time for another visit to Australia, Julian! Did I say already that I’ll be in Edinburgh with the kids over New Year… does your sister still live there?? Have a flat in New Town for a week – hubby working so just me and the kids. XXXXXX

  • Reply November 24, 2013

    Mrs G

    HI Seana,
    We love swimming in ocean and harbour pools for all the reasons you have outlined – great time to catch up, do something for our health, sussing out the coffee and just experience all the wonderful free outdoor stuff we can do in Sydney! Good on you for doing the CanToo challenge and going in the race as well. The ocean swimming community are a great bunch of people and we have loved getting involved in that too.

    • Reply November 24, 2013

      Seana Smith

      Hello, I found your blog and so enjoyed it… I must do a post on it one day. Just back from the Dee Why 1.5km.. hooray for Sydney and lots of briny breezes and free and cheap outdoor fun… for us parents as well as the kids.

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