For most people, swimming is a great way to improve your heart rate and blood flow, while maintaining a healthy weight. However, though the majority of us regard swimming to be an excellent source of exercise, we often forget just how helpful swimming can be for our body. Not only is swimming great for losing weight, but it can also help you to improve your balance, control your breathing, tone your muscles, and even establish mental tranquility.
Of course, just like with any other physical activity - no matter the level you're working out, there's always a new way to improve your skills in the water. Whether you prefer to swim for simple enjoyment, whether it's part of your exercise routine, or you only do it when it's necessary, learning how to improve your swimming skills maximizes your movements by strengthening your muscles, streamlining your body, and even helping you to recovery from injuries faster.
1. Don't Hold Your Breath
You'll struggle to be an incredible swimmer if you feel like you're drowning even when you're afloat. Holding your breath during swimming so that you can keep your face submerged in the water is a great way to stay streamlined - but it's important to come up for air regularly. A steady and constant exhalation and inhalation every third stroke will prevent the buildup of carbon-dioxide in your lungs that leads to that painful, burning sensation.
2. Use Neoprene Supports
A lot of people turn to swimming after an injury as a way to continue exercising in a non-impact way. However, the truth is that even in water, if you have a painful knee injury, you're going to struggle with achieving your best time, or performance. Neoprene knee supports are made using the same waterproof material as wet suits, so you can rely upon them to give you the comfort and support you need, without weighing you down in the pool.
3. Get Ready to Glide
A swimming stroke is a lot different from a running stride or a stroke on a cycling pedal, because it's less continuous. When you're running, there's no separation between one stride and the next, but in swimming, each stroke should be separated from the next with a brief moment of gliding. The second your arm enters the water above your head, let it remain extended for a second before you start the next motion. Don't be a constantly-moving windmill of arms.
4. Keep Your Spine Straight
When you're on dry land, take a moment to stand up tall and situate your body as straight as possible. Notice how your face points forward, and your neck aligns with your spine perfectly. The same alignment should take place in the water, with the waterline touching the center of the top of your head, and your face should be pointed to the bottom of the pool.
5. Kick from the Hips
When you're swimming, your toes should be pointed, your knees should be relaxed, and you should think about hitting the tops of your feet from the surface of the water enough to make a small splash. If after a while of swimming you begin to feel a soreness or fatigue in your hip muscles, then you're actually doing it right.
Finally, the advice to simply calm down in the water may seem simple, but that's only until you actually start swimming. Take a look at some of the greatest swimmers in the world and you'll see that they practically glide along the surface of the water. A good swimming experience shouldn't be a fight - instead, try to relax your body into the water and practice the art of channeling your power into moving your body forwards.