Swimming is a low-impact exercise that uses the entire body for aerobic and strength training. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced swimmer, it is important to have proper technique to avoid injuries and maximize the benefits of your workouts.
Children typically learn to swim around the age of 4 years old, although they can begin learning at earlier ages if they have the cognitive skills to understand and follow instructions. Adults can also start at any age, but it is a good idea to consult a doctor to see if your health condition will allow you to safely participate in a workout routine that involves strenuous activity.
If you are a beginner, it’s best to swim in a pool or other body of water that is not too deep, and stay with a group if possible. Swimming in open water, such as lakes and oceans, can be dangerous due to currents and rip currents. The water is also a natural magnet for lightning, which can strike anyone in the water. Swimming in the rain or during a storm can also be hazardous.
The key to improving your swimming is focusing on form, which means paying attention to both the arm and leg movements. The legs should move forward with a flutter kick, which is when your feet rise and fall in a similar motion to a dolphin’s flippers. The arms should be used to create propulsion, and the best technique is the “fin” stroke. The fins help you glide through the water with less effort, and they also reduce the chances of getting a cramp.
In addition to developing proper form, it is essential to focus on breathing in the water. Keeping your head out of the water will help you breathe more easily, as well as reduce your chances of becoming tired faster. It’s helpful to imagine a central axis running down the center of your body and to keep your head in line with it as you swim.
Your shoulders and torso will need to be strong enough to resist the pull of the water, so work on strength-training exercises before you get in the pool. For example, squats and deadlifts using your own bodyweight can strengthen these muscles. Performing assisted or unassisted pull-ups, up to double-digit reps, will help you build the upper body strength needed for swimming.
Many people enjoy swimming as a way to relieve stress and relax. The repetitive nature of the strokes, and the combination of stretching and deep-breathing during a workout, can induce a meditative state. In addition, swimming helps to release endorphins, which can lift your mood and give you a feeling of accomplishment after completing a workout. This is especially true if you are lapping everyone on the couch! So, grab your swimsuit and get out there! You’ll feel great afterward!