Swimming is a fun, low-impact exercise that burns calories and helps build muscle. It may not be the first exercise that comes to mind when attempting to lose weight, but it’s a great way to burn fat while firming up your entire body without putting too much stress on your joints. Swimming requires a good amount of technique, however, so you need to know the basics before heading into the water. In addition to learning the proper technique, you must also make sure you are properly fueling for your swim and avoiding common swimming mistakes that can lead to injury.
It’s important to warm up for a swim before jumping into cold water. This will help to prevent injury and increase your efficiency in the water. A thorough warm-up should include light cardio and strength training exercises to prepare your muscles. You should also focus on stretching your major muscle groups to avoid injury. Depending on the length of your swim, you should eat before, during or after your workout to ensure you have enough energy for your activity.
While some people think of swimming as a top-heavy sport, the legs are just as important when it comes to getting faster. A strong kick prevents your lower body from sinking and reduces drag, which is crucial when it comes to speed. It’s important to practice your kicking regularly to improve your ability to propel yourself forward through the water.
Breathing is a key component of swimming, and many people forget to breathe in a way that maximizes their performance. Most people do not inhale enough when they are swimming, which can lead to dehydration and fatigue. Ideally, you should be breathing underwater to maximize the oxygen in your bloodstream, but many swimmers struggle with this. When you are inhaling, remember to squeeze the air with your diaphragm and not just blow out the air with your mouth.
Another mistake many swimmers make is not rotating their bodies enough when they are in the water. This is a big mistake that can slow you down in the pool and in races. When you’re in the water, rotate your head and shoulders to breathe to the side. This will help to keep your arms from crossing over each other and allow you to get more water with each stroke.
Lastly, it is important to stay within a safe water depth when you’re swimming. It’s best to start in shallow water and gradually work your way up until you’re comfortable in deeper waters. It’s also a good idea to wear waterproof sunscreen and stay hydrated during your swim. It’s not uncommon for swimming to be a rewarding, challenging, and emotional experience, but there will be days when you need a little reminder of why you chose to become a swimmer. Even on the toughest days, always remember that you love this sport and want to continue growing as a swimmer. Then, you can keep pushing through those rough patches and reaching your full potential in the water.