Swimming is a great way to burn calories, build endurance and strengthen muscles. It’s also a safe and fun activity for the entire family to enjoy. Learning how to swim properly can help reduce the risk of accidents and injuries in the water and allow you to fully enjoy your time at the beach, pool and more. The most important part of swimming is proper technique. This can take time to learn, but once you have it down, you’ll be able to use the water to your advantage.
Swimming requires the use of many different muscle groups, including both the arms and legs. In addition, it requires excellent balance and coordination to keep the body in the correct position while executing each stroke. As you improve your stroke, you’ll be able to complete more laps with less effort and in a shorter period of time.
To achieve the best body position for swimming, it’s important to look down at the bottom of the pool while keeping your head in a neutral position. This will reduce frontal resistance, which can make it difficult to move forward. You’ll also want to keep your spine as long/tall as possible so that you’re utilizing your whole body for propulsion.
Once your body is in a good position, you can focus on the arm stroke. To start the stroke, you’ll need to catch the water with the hand entry. The catch is initiated by bending the wrist into palmar flexion and pushing the fingertips slightly downward. This will stack the fingers, wrist and elbow on top of each other, allowing you to generate more power during the pull. As you push the water with your hand, it should travel in a downward motion until it reaches the line of your thigh. At this point, the hand should transition into the downsweep, which should be a fast and smooth motion.
Once the hand reaches the downsweep, it should be pushed in an up, out and backward motion to create the backsweep. This is the second “propulsive” phase of the stroke and can be the fastest part of your stroke. As you execute the backsweep, remember to keep your head in a neutral position.
The last phase of the stroke is the recovery, or the return to the starting position. As you begin your recovery, you’ll need to push water down with the hand, while gliding across the surface. Once the hand returns to the start position, it should be released to enter the next stroke.
Swimming is a low-impact exercise that can be performed at any age or fitness level. It’s a great alternative to other aerobic activities, such as running, which can be hard on the joints and bones. For beginners, it’s important to start slowly and gradually increase the number of laps you can swim. Four to six laps of any basic stroke is a good place to start, and as you become more comfortable in the water, you can work up to longer distances.