Swimming can either be an individual, recreational, or a competitive activity that is the ultimate total body exercises.
If you are a beginner at swimming it is important to understand some basic techniques to get you started. The very first step is to remove the fear of the pool and being able to get into the water. Follow this by learning how to control your breathing once in the pool.
The next step is to learn how to float. Contrary to popular belief, it is relatively easy to float in water because your lungs are full of air.
Once you’re comfortable floating with or without an assistive floating device (like a kick board), you can learn how to flutter kick where you hold on to the sides of a pool or a flotation device and move your legs in a scissor or whipping motion. Once this is comfortable to execute, you can try it without the floatation device and use overhead stokes of your arms to push the water back as you move forward through the water.
How to swim laps efficiently
If you already understand the basics of swimming, you’ll want to focus on how to get the most number of laps under your belt in the most efficient manner.
Let’s clarify exactly how long is one lap?
There are two types of swimming pools. Long Course and Short Course.
The olympics have a long course swimming pool while your neighbourhood pool is most likely a 25 meter long, short course swimming pool. In a long course pool, one lap is 50 meters. The neighbourhood pool could be 25 meter long. Which implies, 2 laps in a 25 yards pools 50 while a single lap counts for 25 yards.
- Hair cap (In case you treasure your hair)
- Swimming goggles
Swimming Highlight Tips
As a beginner, one of the things you must pay special attention to is balance. You can learn this by practicing floating on water. If you have access to an ocean it’s better since ocean water is denser than swimming pool water so it exerts more up-thrust on your body. This will make you float and balance easily. Whether you go to an ocean or swimming pool, involving a trainer will accelerate your progress and make the whole process safer for you.
Crawl / Freestyle
Freestyle or crawl is the first step to knowing how to swim. It is the simplest to master. With a trainer, this can take at least a month if you take two lessons a week. Keeping your head down will help with your balance and floatation and make it much easier for you to progress.
Alternatively, you can learn the breast stroke style can be learned just as quick but it’s a bit strenuous. This is because it involves more vigorous movement. The hands are moved to the breast and moved outwards pushing water to the back and down. This helps you move forward and float. Your legs should move in a cycling motion. If you watch some animal clips, this can also be termed as the “frog motion” as it’s how a frog moves the hind legs when swimming.
Rolling your Torso
As you propel your body forward, make sure your hands stay in the water. This is to reduce the resistance in air which might slow your down. Most probably, it will exhaust you. Remember to “roll” the body to the other side when one is out of water. This is more appropriate than just turning your head as your neck muscles are bound to tire. This can hinder you from covering much length.
As you turn from side to side, make sure you take a breath at proportionate intervals to keep your muscles oxygenated. For you to turn around and do another lap, move your feet in a position to face the wall as you reach it. Push out with some strength. Before you do this, ensure you inhale some air as this movement can often lead to a shallow dive.
The right breathing technique is key to avoid gasping for air in 4-5 laps. For people seeking
information on how to breathe effectively in a swimming pool this will prove beneficial. Don’t be afraid to exhale underwater. The most common mistake that people make when breathing in a pool is that they lift their fore-body out of the water. Avoid this silly error! You are only increasing the drag which in turn slows you down. Rather, turn your head! Just turn your head out of the water. Inhale. Exhale while turning your head back into the water to empty your lungs as you swim.
Cutting Down on Drag
In order to swim farther and faster you would want to cut down on the drag. Assuming you know how to get to the other end of the swimming pool without much problem, you can aim to maximise the number of laps with finesse. Getting started with the gear, you would require a body-fitted suit that hugs your body instead of the boxer shorts or trunks that most men wear. Their main aim is to relish while they are in the pool and not improve their efficiency. For women, there are many two piece and one piece options available in
order to lower the drag. But look out for the washing instructions on the label as the chlorine in the water is eventually going to wear down your gear with time. A head cap can also reduce drag for the people who sport a long hairstyle.
Common Swimming Technique Issues
While swimming, the body should be completely flat and in line with the water’s surface. If lower part of the body, especially the legs are hanging low, it’ll will slow down which is the result is of poor streamlining of the body viz-a-viz the water. A common reason for the legs hanging low is because the swimmer’s head is too high above the water. It is also important to note that while swimming your body should roll side to side approximately 45 degrees. This helps in longs strokes in the water by engaging the stronger back muscle. Rolling also allows the swimmer to turn their head which in turn helps with breathing.
Another point to keep in mind is that faster strokes or kicking harder doesn’t necessarily translate to more distance covered. What matters is how much you can stretch your arms for each stroke which in turns propels you forward using lesser amount of strokes and hence conserving strength and energy.
Coordination is key. Your arms should work in sync with one another. If they work in opposites, you will spend more energy while limiting your forward movement. This also holds true for pushing your head out of the water at the appropriate time allowing for a quick breath of air before continuing.
There are many swimming techniques one could choose to master. The most used swimming strokes are
These are famous because they are used in international competitions. It doesn’t matter which one you choose if your ultimate objective is to seek pleasure out of swimming. But, if you seek to swim a considerable distance, make the decision carefully.
In addition to being a fun activity, swimming is a great way to stay healthy fit. Swimming is an all round activity without putting your body through much stress. It keeps your heart rate up while building endurance and cardiovascular fitness and muscle strength. Even mentally, swimming has its advantages. It helps alleviate stress and relaxes the mind proving to be a good form of active therapy. If you’re looking to lose weight and / or build endurance, swimming has proven to be more helpful than jogging (Mayo clinic report- https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/in-depth/exercise/art-20050999?pg=2
Swimming two or three times a week can increase your lifespan! Yes! It has its health benefits! It is a low impact activity which keeps you fit and in pink of health.
- It elevates the heart rate making you feel better and relieved of all the stress at work or home
- Suppresses cardiovascular disease
- Upgrades your muscle strength, burns fat and if done seriously, can build muscle
- Your lungs remain healthy!
- Almost all the muscles in your body are engaged, so, providing you the best pleasing full body workout.
Health Benefits Of Swimming
1. It exercises the whole body
Swimming is one exercise that can be dubbed a Jack of all trades. This is because all your body parts. It not only increases your endurance but also makes you stronger. The heart is gently exercised by the constant beating as it pumps blood to muscles. The biceps, triceps and leg muscles all work in perfect harmony to help you move this they become more resilient. This is especially so for breastroke and butterfly styles.
2. Internal organs are exercised
For your lungs and heart, this is the best exercise. This is because you can do it at apace that they can handle. It helps prevent laxity-related conditions such as hypertension and arteriosclerosis. As the blood moves in your arteries, they become more “clear” and wider.
3.Can be done by almost everyone
Provided you have the drive and are willing to learn swimming might not very much affect you in case you have a chronic illness or medical condition.Such Of the conditions may be arthritis, injury and disabilities might even make the disabled limbs to be a bit stronger.
Swimming uses quite some energy and will help you reduce your weight to the desired level. From an extensive research, a heavy person can burn more than 500 calories by swimming for an hour. If you are lightweight, be assured to lose 400 plus calories an hour if you do some serious swimming.
Swimming improves your mood as your muscles are more relaxed. Furthermore, you are likely to meet new people at the swimming pool or play fun games. For the young generation, you never know if you might find a lifetime partner!
6. You can sleep soundly
Due to the exhaustion of muscles and internal organs, sleeping will no longer be a choice for you. I know would not be amazed if you fall right off your chair in even before you sit on it! Just kidding, but be assured of some beauty sleep.
7. Can reduce your stress levels
Whoa! There you have a natural remedy for the thing that has been constantly clogging your mind from thinking clearly. With each dip in the water you make you are sure to cool off- literally. This will impact positively in your life and you can now enjoy the things you took for granted. You might even be in a position to make the life-saving decision.
8. You can even carry your kids along
You don’t have to worry about getting a nanny, just bring them along. There are shallow pools that they can play in. One thing to make you smile? At the end of the day, they will sleep like a baby! (you can giggle, no problem).
9. It is easy to learn
Swimming is as simple as 1,2,3. You just have to take some time off your busy schedule to pop in at the pool and have your trainer give a few lessons. With self-drive and external motivation, you can do it in the shortest time possible. This means you can be on your own in a week or so.
10. Very affordable
You won’t be charged a fortune if you visit most swimming pools. It’s even better when there’s a lake or ocean near you. It will entirely be free, you only need to bring a friend along because the rate of stealing has been quite alarming. Make sure the beach is safe from shark attacks or other animal attacks. If you bring kids along, constantly keep an eye on them and presence of lifeguards would be more assuring.
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