Swimming is a popular exercise for many people, especially those who live in areas where the climate is warm enough to swim all year round. It is an excellent form of cardiovascular exercise, building strength and endurance as well as a great way to cool off after a workout.
It is an enjoyable way to stay fit and it can be done in the comfort of your own home. It is also an ideal exercise for those who are elderly or ill, as it is low-impact and easy to do.
If you are new to swimming, it is a good idea to work with a coach or instructor to get started on proper technique. They will be able to point out some of the common mistakes that new swimmers make, which can lead to injuries and imbalances in muscle groups.
Breathing and Stroke Mechanics
To start, you should learn to breathe underwater using the nose and mouth, with no air remaining when you exhale. This technique will help you avoid a common mistake made by beginners, which is holding your breath and trying to get your face out of the water in order to breathe.
You should inhale from the nose and then exhale by rotating your head to the side. This is a key to synchronized breathing, so practice until you can do it effortlessly.
Roll from Side to Side
Another common mistake that is easy to make is rolling from one side of the pool to the other during the stroke cycle. This can be difficult to master, but it will improve your arm strokes by activating the larger muscles in your back and torso.
Besides improving your efficiency in the water, this can also help you overcome rip currents and other obstacles, as long as you are able to keep your body straight. It can also increase your speed and endurance when sprinted or during an open-water event, since you will be able to maintain a consistent line through the water.
When learning to breathe from the sides, be sure that your arms are extended at a downward angle so that your fingertips are 4 to 6 inches below the surface of the water when not in contact with the bottom. This is an important aspect of swimming as it can help to reduce stress on the spine, shoulders and neck.
You can also start by blowing bubbles on the surface of the water and then dunk your head under, blowing some of the bubbles out. Then slowly come out of the water again and repeat this process three to six times.
Doing this can help you get a feel for what the streamline position looks like and how to glide into the wall without using your arms. Once you are comfortable with this, you can begin to add kicks.
You can also try practicing freestyle, which is a combination of flutter kicks and alternating windmill arm motions that can be difficult to master at first. This can be a challenging stroke to master, but once you do, it will allow you to swim faster and longer than you could with any other type of stroke.