Greetings Hoogly fans! As I write this, the country is in the grip of a mini heat-wave, with temperatures in some parts soaring to over 30⁰. This wonderful exhibition of sunshine, however, can leave us a little hot under the collar, to say the least, so I thought I’d spend some time thinking about one of my favourite—and most refreshing—past-times: the simple joy of swimming!
Historical evidence has indicated that swimming was enjoyed as early as 2500 BCE in Egypt, and later in Assyria. In ancient Greece and Rome, swimming was part of military training and education for males. The Romans built pools, distinct from their famous baths, and Gaius Maecenas is thought to have constructed the first heated pool.
In Asia, swimming appears to date back to the first century BCE, with evidence found of races taking place throughout the region. In 17th century Japan, compulsory swimming lessons in schools were implemented by Imperial edict.
In Europe in the Middle Ages, a lack of swimming activity seems to be evidenced by the fear of infection and epidemics spreading through close contact in water. Later, in the 17th century, there are reports of swimming at British seashore resorts, in conjunction with water therapy. In the 19th century, however, swimming increased in popularity both recreationally and for sport. By 1837, when the first swimming organisation was formed, London had six indoor pools, each with diving boards.
The first swimming championship was held in 1846 in Australia and then annually thereafter. Competitors had to race over 400 metres. Swimming was included in the modern Olympic Games from their inception in 1896. Events were originally men-only, but women were brought into the fold in 1912. Some of the first events were a little odd compared to contemporary conventions: in 1900, when the event took place in France’s river Seine, competitors had to climb over a pole and a row of boats before swimming under them! When official body FINA took over, the races were codified and simplified, with strokes being reduced to crawl, breaststroke, backstroke and butterfly.
You don’t have to be an Olympic swimmer, of course, to feel the benefits of exercising in the water. Swimming is an excellent workout, requiring the movement of the entire body against the resistance of the water. Amongst other great benefits, swimming can:
-Keep you heart rate up whilst taking impact stress off the body.
-Increase endurance, cardiovascular fitness and muscle strength.
-Help keep you at a healthy weight.
-Be good for your heart and lungs.
-Improve posture, coordination and balance.
And it’s not just the body that benefits from swimming. This form of exercise can be extremely peaceful and relaxing, immersing yourself in water can be a truly mindful experience, as well as being incredibly refreshing and invigorating on a blazingly hot day. Swimming is also well known to alleviate stress, and is available at a multitude of places such as beaches, lakes and rivers, offering the calming beauty and soundtrack of nature. (You must always take care to ensure that the environment you are swimming is safe, however.)
Once you’ve finished your revitalising dip, you’ll need a tasty treat to keep the refreshment topped up! Hoogly heartily recommends Citrus Bloom herbal infusion! This bright and beautiful brew combines summery citrus with the lively trio of peppermint, rosemary and sage, topped off with a scattering of fennel seeds. Equally delicious as a cuppa, an iced tea or a lolly, this sun-kissed sensation is perfect to dive into for the hot weather!
Or how about a firm customer favourite: Raspberry Liquorice and Lavendar black tea? Make a splash this summer with this dazzling combo of sharp raspberries and super-sweet liquorice root, sprinkled lovingly with lavender for a fresh, floral twist. So delicious you’ll want to fill the pool and swim in it!
That’s it for now, Hoogly fans. Remember to stay safe in the sun and drink lots of water—but save some room for our luxurious and mindful cuppas—the perfect treat to spoil yourself as the weather shines and shimmers.
Written by Chris Bedford