A Beginner’s Guide to Swimming
The idea of learning how to swim may swim intimidating at first but it really isn’t. In fact, swimming is fun and very beneficial to the body. Swimming gives your body a combination of strength building and aerobic workout. It strengthens your legs, arms and core and at the same time, help you burn calories. What makes swimming a great exercise is that it does not impact your bones and joints because you’re buoyant in water.
HOW TO SWIM: A STEP BY STEP GUIDE
- Step 1: Get used to the feel of immersing your body in water and begin to realize how buoyant you are. So step into the swimming pool and walk around the shallow parts. As you get more comfortable, you can go deeper, until the water reaches your shoulders. For some people, this may take a few tries and that’s perfectly OK.
- Step 2: The next step is to learn how to blow bubbles underwater. Go to a shallow area of the pool (chest deep) and grab hold of the side of the pool. Then start blowing bubbles as you put your face in the water. Practice this and as you get more comfortable, go deeper into the water. Breathe in with your face out of the water and breath out with your face in the water.
- Step 3: It’s time to learn how to float. Don’t go in the deep area of the pool yet. Stay on the side, and don’t go beyond chest deep. Take a deep breath and then slowly lift both feet up as you lean backward. You may not be able to do it successfully at first but keep trying. Do it repeatedly until you can float for half a minute or more.
- Step 4: Now try to do one lap by using your arms. That means swimming from one end of the pool to the opposite end. Use a flotation device such as a styrofoam noodle. You can rest at any point if you’re tired.
- Step 5: Do another lap, this time using both arms and legs. It may make you feel very tired at first so if you need to, you can rest every few seconds.
- Step 6: When you can already swim one lap without stopping, you’re ready to swim without a flotation device. You can be close to the edge of the pool so you can easily grab hold of the side of the pool in case you get tired.
That’s it! Just keep doing laps until you become more comfortable in the water. Once you’re ready, you can then work on endurance and speed.back to menu ↑
HELPFUL SWIMMING ADVISE AND TIPS
The main challenge for a swimmer who is uncoached is that there are a lot of nuances of freestyle swimming to copy and just as many tips to improve yourself that you’ll find it difficult to figure out which ones to follow and which areas to prioritize.
That said, I have listed down what I consider are among the most crucial freestyle aspects you should focus on.
- Relax. Seems easy enough, right? Not exactly. But you really need to relax. If you’ve ever seen pro swimmers, you’ll know that they seem very relaxed in the water, which makes them seem like they are gliding effortlessly. So relax your whole body and focus your energy in moving your body forward.
- Don’t hold your breath. If you do, you will feel out of breath and you will tire easily. Instead, breathe in and breathe out at a steady, normal pace. I recommend inhaling on your third stroke.
- Glide. Make sure each stroke is separated from the next with a quick glide. To do this, keep your arm fully extended for a few moments before it enters the water right over your head.
- Keep your spine properly aligned. The waterline should cut the top of your head’s center and you should be facing straight at the bottom of the swimming pool.
- Don’t over-rotate your body. Your torso should not go past 45 degrees & your lower legs and head should also not rotate – just your torso and hips.
TYPES OF SWIMMING STROKES
While most people swim freestyle, there are actually several swimming strokes.
- Freestyle Stroke: Also known as front crawl, the freestyle stroke is usually the preferred stroke of advanced swimmers. It makes use of alternating arm movements, flutter kicks and above water recovery.
- Breaststroke: First time swimmers are usually taught the breastroke. Its main advantage is that it allows the swimmer to breaststroke to keep their head above the water.
- Butterfly Stroke: This is preferred by competitive swimmers due to it’s unique and impressive technique. The butterfly stroke utilizes symmetrical arm strokes, dolphin kicks and wave-like body movements.
- Backstroke: This technique is swum backwards and uses alternating circular movements of the arms, flutter kicks and above water recovery.
- Sidestroke: Side stroke is not very popular but it is easy to learn. It is often used by lifeguards when rescuing victims.
BENEFITS OF TAKING SWIMMING LESSONS
Swimming is a crucial life skill. And no matter how old you are, it’s never too late to learn how to swim. There are so many benefits you can get from this activity and it does not put you at risk of injury. So whether you’re 6 or 60, consider taking swimming lessons!
- Health and Fitness: Exercise is good for our health – we all know this. And one of the best exercises that work for all fitness levels is swimming. Why? Because it works on every group of muscles in your body without subjecting it to stress. If you’re trying to lose weight, swimming will help you achieve your goal as well. A 130-pound individual can burn 590 calories doing freestyle swimming for an hour. If you swim every day, you can lose 5 pounds in a month or more.
- Confidence and Self-Esteem: Swimming boosts your self esteem and makes you more confident about yourself. As you progress in swimming, you will develop a more positive image of yourself. Children will develop social skills as they make new friends in their swimming classes. Adults, on the other hand, will feel good about themselves and their bodies which in turn enhances their confidence.
- Safety: This is particularly true for kids. Learning how to swim is vital to ensure your child’s safety when in the water. Besides, as a life skill, mastering it will give you a lifetime of enjoyable experiences. You will be able to enjoy your vacations, water activities and even scuba diving. Having the ability to swim gives you the chance to try a lot of fun water activities.
SWIMMING WORKOUT: IS IT EFFECTIVE
You might be wondering, should I try a swimming workout? The truth is, there are many exercises you can do to give your body a good workout. Running on a treadmill can certainly get you to sweat buckets, and so is spinning. But if you want a full-body workout that is enjoyable at the same time, nothing really beats swimming. Take a look at its benefits:
- It’s a complete body workout. It tackles every area in your body so you can tone your arms, legs, belly and even your bottom with each stroke.
- It does not put you at risk of injury. Unlike running, swimming is friendly on the joints. So even if you are still recovering from an injury, you can continue to build endurance, strength, muscle tone and overall fitness by swimming. You can swim everyday and not worry about stressing out your muscles or injuring yourself.
- It’s not expensive. In fact, all you need is goggles, a swim cap and an appropriate swimwear. You may or may not buy a kickboard or any flotation device. Most pools have them readily available.
- It burns a lot of calories. I’ve mentioned earlier how much calories a person can burn by swimming. Of course, this depends on your current weight, stroke, and speed. But in general, swimming burns plenty of calories so if you’re trying to lose weight, it’s a great option.
- It’s refreshing. Who doesn’t enjoy a dip in cool water in a hot summer day?
- It makes you competitive. Some people learn to swim so they can compete in triathlons. As you progress in your swimming, you can also add running and biking into your workout routine. You can even sign up for a Sprint Triathlon event to make training more exciting.
ADULT SWIMMING LESSONS
Making the decision to enroll in adult swimming lessons might be scary if you have a fear of deep water but it shouldn’t be. If you are having doubts about being able to learn to swim, here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Acknowledge your fear. Make sure your instructor knows that you have an intense fear of the water. By being honest with them about this, they can help you ease into the water.
- Start with basic strokes. You need to have a solid foundation of swimming so you can tackle the more advanced strokes.
- Build confidence in the water. You don’t have to learn everything in a couple of sessions.
- Master the techniques. You don’t have to be the fastest swimmer. The most important thing is for you to know the proper form and technique so you can continue to develop the skill. You can work on improving your speed later on.
BABY SWIMMING LESSONS
For moms and dads, letting their babies take swimming lessons can be a scary proposition. But it can actually be a very positive experience not just for your little one but for yourself as well. Help your baby learn to love the water and ensure his or her safety while swimming.
First of all, you need to determine if your baby is ready for lessons. You can go to a class that specializes in baby swimming lessons and ask the instructor to evaluate your child’s readiness.
Next, visit the pool where your baby will be taking lessons. Go there during peak hours so you’ll have an idea of the environmental conditions.
Make the experience as positive as possible for your little one. Make him or her feel comfortable in the water by attending the first few lessons as well. The two of you can spend some time “acclimatizing” in the pool, splashing water around and just having fun.
Arrive on time for each swimming lesson and don’t feed your child 30 minutes before the class schedule. If baby diapers are allowed, make sure your baby wears one.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF SWIMMING
Swimming is an excellent workout as it allows you to move your entire body in the water against resistance.
- With swimming, you can keep your heart rate up without stressing out your body.
- You also build endurance, cardiovascular fitness and muscle strength.
- You can maintain a healthy weight.
- Your heart and lungs will be healthier and stronger.
- Your muscles will be toned and your body will be much stronger.
- It gives your whole body a work out.
Aside from the health benefits of swimming, it also provides other benefits, as listed below:
- It is relaxing.
- It alleviates stress.
- It boosts flexibility.
- It is a low-impact therapy for people with injury and medical conditions.
- It is a great way to cool down on a hot summer day.
Learn to Swim Today
Ever since I was child, I was always scared of the water. It took me years to finally overcome it. I started taking swimming lessons when I was 30 and I have not stopped swimming since. So, when any non-swimmer comes to me and ask whether they can still take lessons, I always say, absolutely! You can learn to swim at any age but the sooner you decide to learn to swim, the better. You’re missing out on a lot of opportunities and advantages every day that you decide to put it off!
Learn to swim today and find out for yourself just how enjoyable and relaxing it can be!back to menu ↑