Swimming 101

swimming
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Swimming is an all-weather activity, making it an excellent choice for recreation and fitness. While you can swim in the ocean, lakes, and outdoor swimming pools in warm weather, indoor and heated pools are for cooler days. Swimming is an activity that is easy on the joints while helping you burn calories. It helps build muscular strength and enhances endurance. If you have been meaning to get into a swimming routine but don’t know where to start, here is some information that could come in handy and get you on your way.

What You Will Need

A swimsuit is the first thing you need to get when you go shopping. Swimwear is available in different styles and fabrics to suit all budgets. Prioritize comfort and durability when you shop for this item. If you are unsure about what material to go with, check with the sales associates for suggestions. Pick a fabric that can withstand fading when immersed repeatedly in chlorinated water.

Get yourself a pair of swimming goggles to help keep your eyes open in the water and protect them from the chlorine. Ensure that the goggles are a snug fit and comfortable to wear by trying them on before purchasing. Many reputed manufacturers now also offer prescription swim goggles.

You may want to add caps to your shopping list if you are worried about the effects of chlorine on your hair. Also, some pools mandate wearing of swim caps. These caps are made of materials such as neoprene, silicone, latex and lycra. If you are new to swimming, the flotation devices and foam kickboards may be a good idea. Fins for the feet, hand paddles, and pull buoys are other accessories you might want to add, depending on your needs and goals.

Take it Slow

Be sure to check with your physician before you start your swimming routine. The amount of time spent swimming assumes greater importance than the speed with which you swim or the distance you cover. In the initial weeks, swim for short intervals of time and stop to rest for an equal period every time. For instance, if you swim for one minute, rest for a minute before repeating. Gradually, you will be able to swim for a longer time and add variations to your routine to make it more interesting.

Different Types of Swimming Strokes

Once you establish your swimming routine, you can begin mastering new strokes and keep it interesting. Freestyle, backstroke, butterfly, and breaststroke are common types of strokes.

  • Freestyle swimming, also known as the crawl, is the most popular of these and the best choice for beginners. A crawl involves swimming on you belly, with the legs kicking alternately while the arms are in windmill motion. Here, the most crucial aspect is coordinating your breathing as you face will be continually in the water.
  • The backstroke is almost similar to the crawl, but here, as the name suggests, you will be swimming on your back. While the limb movements are similar, you need to use more arm strength and keep rolling your body from side to side.
  • A breaststroke requires perfect timing and can be difficult to master. This stroke requires your body to bob up and down while you splice the water. At the same time, you have to pull on the water with your arms and use frog kicks to propel yourself forward.
  • The butterfly stroke is also complicated and is recommended for experienced swimmers. It requires substantial strength and involves moving the legs in a dolphin kick. At the same time, you must wiggle your torso while pushing the arms together downward and backward.

Swimming is a fun activity suitable for people of all ages. Once you ease into a routine, you will find it difficult to ever stop.