Swimming is a great way to get a full-body workout. It can strengthen your arm, leg and core muscles and exercise your cardiovascular system, which may help you maintain blood sugar levels, blood pressure and a healthy weight. Swimming in a pool or at the beach can also help you unwind, relieve stress and have fun with friends or on your own.
The best time of day to swim depends on why you're swimming, your preferences and your experience level.
Swimming in the Morning
Many swimmers swear by their morning swim because it's quiet, peaceful and can help prepare your body and mind for the day ahead.
If you're a morning person, sunrise swims and early-morning dips can be just the boost you need to start your day. Consider some benefits of swimming in the morning.
- It is peaceful: Morning swims usually mean little to no crowds at a public pool or beach, which makes it an excellent time to get an undisturbed workout in or to watch the sunrise from the water.
- There is a lower risk for sunburn: Anytime the sun is out, you're at risk for sunburn. That said, the sun's rays do not peak until 10 a.m., so early-morning swims are an excellent way to minimize your chances of getting burned. Remember to wear a broad-spectrum, high-SPF sunscreen, even in the morning.
- It can make you feel energized: If you're looking for a mental boost, morning might be the best time to swim. An invigorating morning swim can make you feel more alert, increase your overall energy and help you stay focused throughout the day.
- You can complete your daily workout early: If swimming is part of your training or exercise routine, getting it done early in the morning minimizes unexpected interruptions sabotaging your daily workout. It also frees up your evening for other things, like getting work done or spending time with family.
Morning swims are an excellent way to start the day, but keep the following drawbacks in mind.
- There is reduced visibility: Low-light conditions and morning fog can make it dangerous and difficult to see during outdoor swims. If you want to go for an early-morning dip, opt for an indoor or outdoor pool.
- The water might be cold: Because the sun has not been out long enough to warm the water, an early-morning swim might be too cold for comfort. If you get too cold while swimming, you risk losing muscle control.
- There are no lifeguards on duty: If you're swimming in a public place, you may not find lifeguards on duty early in the morning. If you're a beginner or swimming in an unfamiliar place, proceed cautiously.
- Your body isn't fully awake: When you swim in the morning, your muscles and senses are not as limber and alert as they will be later in the day. That might make it more challenging to push yourself during swim exercises. To combat this, do plenty of warmup stretches and dryland exercises before diving in.
- It requires careful planning: If you're not a morning person, you may have trouble adjusting to an early-morning swim schedule, especially if you have to squeeze in your workout before work, school or errands. When transitioning to morning swims, allow yourself a few transitional days while you adjust.
Swimming in the Afternoon
Whether a lunch-break dip or a post-workday workout, swimming in the afternoon may be a great fit for you — don't forget to apply sunscreen and drink plenty of water!
The afternoon is one of the most popular times to swim because the water is warm and most people have finished work or school for the day. Some advantages of afternoon swimming are as follows.
- The water is warmer: By the afternoon, outdoor water has had more time to warm in the sun, making it more comfortable to swim. Make sure the water isn't too hot, or you risk dehydration and early exhaustion.
- It can relieve stress: Many believe the afternoon is the best time for swimming because, after a day of work or school, a refreshing swim can be a great way to unwind, relieve stress and prepare yourself for the latter half of the day.
- Lifeguards are on duty: Most public pools and beaches staff lifeguards during the late morning through the late afternoon, when the water is busiest. Swimming in an area protected with a lifeguard can offer you peace of mind and is especially helpful if you're a beginner or swimming with children.
While an afternoon swim might be a good fit for some, there are some disadvantages to consider.
- You are at a higher risk of sunburn: Swimming outdoors in the early to mid-afternoon makes you more susceptible to sunburn because the sun's rays are at their strongest until about 4 p.m. Reapply sunscreen every two hours and after swimming, drying off with a towel or after sweating.
- You can overheat more readily: If you're swimming outdoors, it's easier to overheat when exercising or training in the afternoon. The safest temperature to swim in is between 78 and 82 degrees. To avoid overheating, take regular breaks and stay hydrated.
- There are larger crowds: Most public pools and beaches are busiest in the afternoon when adults have finished work and students are out of school. If swimming is a social experience for you, this could be an advantage. However, if you swim for exercise, the larger crowds might limit the amount of space you have.
Swimming at Night
To stay safe while swimming at night, avoid the ocean or other bodies of water because they can be unpredictable. If you choose to swim outdoors, stay in well-lit areas, and swim with a partner when possible.
Swimming at night gives you something to look forward to all day long and can be a great fit if you frequent the pool. Some benefits of an evening swim include the following.
- You are at no risk of sunburn: Most types of skin cancers, including melanoma, result from exposure to UV light from the sun. Swimming after dark is one of the best ways to avoid getting a sunburn or irritating existing burns.
- Your muscles are at their peak: By the end of the day, your body has spent hours stretching and moving. Your muscles are limber and warmed up, which can make your workout more effective.
- You will have more post-swim recovery time: When you do a swim workout during the evening, it's easier to spend the rest of the night recovering before you go to bed, instead of going to work, doing chores or running errands.
Swimming at night is an easy way to avoid sunburn and get an effective workout, but there are some drawbacks to consider.
- There are no lifeguards on duty: Though every beach and pool is different, many places do not have lifeguards on duty at night. Even experienced or competitive swimmers are safer when swimming with a lifeguard present — especially after dark. If you're a beginner or swimming with children, you might be better off going in the afternoon.
- There is reduced visibility: Swimming in low light or after dark can be dangerous, especially if you're in an ocean, river or lake. If an evening swim sounds like the best fit for you, look for a well-lit indoor pool at a local gym or recreation center.
- You may have trouble sleeping: While a regular exercise routine — like swimming — can help you get quality sleep, studies show that exercising at night can make it harder to fall asleep. If you opt for an evening swim, do it at least one hour before you plan to sleep for better results.
Find High-Quality Swim Gear at All American Swim
Whether swimming in the morning or evening — or somewhere in between — there is no right or wrong time of day to go for a swim. The decision comes down to what kind of experience you're looking for, whether you're swimming in a pool or ocean and your individual swim goals. If you're unsure which time is best for you, try swimming during different parts of the day and see when you find the most success.
No matter why you're swimming or when you choose to go, All American Swim has the apparel and equipment you need to have a safe, fun time in the water. Visit us online to find swimwear, swim gear and competitive training equipment today!