What You’re Doing:
Getting a few laps as an addition to other exercises in your regular routine. It’s a great activity to work all the muscles in the body while going easy on the joints. Time and number of laps aren’t of huge concern – it’s just as long as you’re getting in the pool.
What You Should Be Doing:
According to Duffy, a generally foolproof approach to improving your swimming, for those with little to no experience in competitive swimming, is to do a sprint as fast as you can for one lap and then immediately do another one to three more laps. After this, rest and repeat. As you move forward, increase the number of sprint laps, and as your stamina continues to build up, you can cut down on that rest period as well. Of course, other cardio activities and strength training are also suggested to maximize your results.
Well, it’s still a few more years before you’re old enough to settle for some water aerobics. Until then, try to channel your inner Phelps… as much as possible anyway.