Swimming is a high-intensity exercise that burns kilojoules and builds muscle. It strengthens nearly all of your body’s major muscles, including your core, and it helps to build endurance. It is also a low-impact workout that can be done almost anywhere, even on the beach, and it’s great for easing back into exercising after injury or surgery.
If you’re not a natural swimmer, it can take a while to become comfortable in the water and to learn how to swim well. But it is not impossible, and there are many things you can do to help yourself along the way. You can start by finding a pool or a safe area where you can stand in water that is waist-high or higher. Once you’re comfortable, try putting your face in the water and blowing bubbles with your nose or mouth (try humming as you exhale to help you keep calm).
Once you’re ready to move into deeper waters, you can swim on the front and back by fluttering your legs and moving your arms alternately. You can also do the breaststroke, a long-distance stroke that involves your chest and belly, or butterfly, which is a quicker freestyle stroke that requires good shoulder rotation.
As you work on your strokes, you can also practice kicking. The best swimmers have a strong kick, which helps them to slip through the water and add speed. It can also give you a boost when you are close to the wall, when your arms may seize up with lactic acid.
A good kick also prevents your hips from sinking, which can cause you to lose energy and slow down. You should always try to keep your hips at the same level as the rest of your body in the water.
If you want to get more out of your swimming, it’s important to have good technique and to train regularly. A good swim coach can guide you and help you reach your goals. You can also join a masters swimming program or an adult learn to swim class to improve your technique and meet other people who enjoy the sport.
When you’re swimming, make sure to wear a fitted, snug-fitting swimsuit and goggles that fit securely. It’s also a good idea to have a swim cap to prevent hair from getting wet and to help you retain heat. Always swim in a designated area with a lifeguard. Never swim alone, especially if you’re an adult who is not a strong swimmer. You should also stay away from bodies of water where there are currents or waves, and be very cautious about swimming in lakes, the ocean, or rivers where rip currents could pull you out to sea. If you have a health condition, talk to your doctor before starting a swimming regimen. If you’re recovering from an injury or illness, a hydrotherapy (water therapy) session with an exercise physiologist can be helpful. They can guide you through exercises that are tailored to your specific needs.