When people first learn that I swim a few times a week, I generally get one of two reactions. The less-common one is, “Cool! Where do you swim and when can I join you?” The one I hear more often is more along the lines of, “Wow, isn’t that, you know … boring?”
Now, I don’t think swimming is boring at all, but then again, I generally get into the pool with a workout in mind, and when you’re counting your laps and keeping track of your times, I mean, your brain is pretty well engaged. Plus, I tend to swim with others, and even though you can’t exactly chat while swimming, it certainly makes the time pass.
That being said, I understand what people are saying. Swimming is repetitive (stroke, stroke, stroke, breathe, flip, repeat), and if you’re just jumping in and swimming for a set period of time and not paying attention to pace or distance, zoning out and getting bored could be a real problem.
But music would sure help, right?
Finis sent me its Neptune Waterproof MP3 Player ($159.99) a while ago, and while I was super excited about it, I didn’t try it out immediately. I was worried that I’d have trouble loading it up with music and concerned it would be distracting if I tried it while swimming with a group (which I do about 90 percent of the time).
And then I ran into a woman at the pool who was wearing one, and I casually asked her how she liked it. Her response, pretty much verbatim, was, “Oh. My. God. I love it so so so so much. I’ve lost 100 pounds in the past year by coming in and swimming for an hour, and it’s so easy to do because I just listen to music. I put all kinds of music on there, and when certain songs come on, I don’t even feel like I’m working out — it’s more like I’m playing. Try it. Try it!”
I popped underwater with her Neptune held up to my temples — rather than using earbuds, the Neptune uses Bone Conduction audio transmission, which allows the music to travel from your cheekbones right into your inner ear, and the sound quality is kind of phenomenal — and I was blown away by the quality. She was beaming when I surfaced, saying, “See? It’s great!” I agreed.
Unsurprisingly, I decided to set mine up the moment I got home. I was pleased to discover that loading it with music is extremely easy — nothing more than a drag and drop from your computer using the included charging cord. (If your only music is in iTunes, I believe there’s an extra step or two, but if you have it saved as MP3 files elsewhere, it’ll only take you a couple of minutes.)
The next morning, I hit the pool with a playlist full of inspiring and fun songs, and my workout absolutely flew by. I was easily able to change the volume or repeat/skip songs with the controller clipped to my cap. And, my fears about being distracted by the music when swimming with others was unfounded — although the sound is entirely clear underwater, it’s very soft when above the water, so I could hear everything everyone said without needing to remove the speakers.
The only slight downside was that I had a bit of trouble with getting one side of my goggles to fit properly, but I was able to fix with a minor adjustments. It’s a good idea to try it out and get everything fitting properly and comfortably, though, before you settle in for a long set where you don’t want to take any breaks.
Next up, I think I might download some books — I think I would really enjoy a nice, long, aerobic workout while having someone read to me. And I can use my SwimSense to track my laps!
Do you rely on music to get you in the workout groove? Would this help you get more out of swimming? —Kristen