Swimming is all about action. If you are not quick, you might just sink.
Swimming is among the most revered activities that most health coaches recommend to men, women and children alike. In swimming, your muscles are constantly under pressure due to the tick density of water. And it’s a great workout for not just cardio but also for strength.
1. Getting started with swimming
New to swimming? Don’t fret, just dive in and learn something new every day!
The first lesson is to get comfortable while moving around in and underwater. It’s good to aspire for a butterfly stroke but first of all, you need to able to walk in water so begin with treading in the pool while holding on to the edge. Kick your legs at the same time and then move to treading water without assistance.
- Practice Bubbling which is the primary technique every coach will teach you. Breathing underwater is extremely different than breathing on land. Holding your breath is something that you will have hard time learning but in the beginning you can learn to exhale in the water and pop up, out of the pool/water to inhale again.
- Try Frog-kicking and learn to rhythmically move your arms so you can stay afloat. Also try running through the water and it’s possible that you may feel resistance from water so don’t feel discouraged if you are unable to at first.
- Then, practice strokes every day.
If you find the central part of the pool a daunting part then you can begin at the shallow corner of the pool with a kickboard and try some doggie paddling. You can practice proper breathing at the same time while also putting some basic strokes to display and fine-tuning some of your swimming movements.
2. Training plans for beginners
If you are a beginner then either you have just learned how to swim or are learning how to swim. In both circumstances, we are assuming that you can swim at least 100 meters depending on the kind of pool you use.
- Create a Training plan: You can go ahead with swimming plans offered by Fitso and get a training plan for beginners so you can swim moderately and successfully. However, you should be keen about customizing your plan so you can fit it well into your schedule.
- Initially, you will just need to start, commit yourself to swimming at least three times a week. Give each session a grueling 30 minutes and try swimming as much as you can. When you are a beginner, staying by the pool edge may seem like an infatuating idea but unless you try harder, you won’t be able to learn.
3. Warm-up Exercises to Do Before Diving in!
Plenty of magazines recommend swimming to women for weight lose but it’s just as good for men, children and the older populace. However, many find it hard to get started with swimming even with the guidance available. Perhaps it’s motivation or lack of a stimulating environment. However we have everything you need to get started with swimming right here:
Like most other activities, swimming too requires your entire body to work so it’s good to stretch. Stretching opens up the body and helps it expand when you go underwater. Try stretching your arms and shoulders backward and front. Just move them from right to left while stretching the shoulders.
For stretching arms and shoulders, consider these moves:
- Elbow Pull (moves your triceps, lats and numerous shoulder muscles)
For stretching your back, try this:
- Child’s pose
Basics and Techniques of Swimming
Basic Swimming Strokes
As you grow comfortable walking, running and floating in water, you can move forward to strokes. Consider trying strokes for a lap or two and change the routine as per your body’s endurance levels.
You can train three times a week and practice for the zero to 1650 (swimmer’s mile) in six weeks. Numerous apps are available on android and iOS that you can use to get lessons on strokes.
You can also try quick drills, few short laps using some swim videos.
Here are some strokes that you should learn:
Freestyle or Front Crawl: This basic stroke requires you to be on your stomach and swim with your arm-over-arm while kicking.
Backstroke: This one requires you to be on your back as you kick when your arms rotate.
Warm-up exercise in the pool:
- Make 2 laps (100 meters) your target and try 1 lap easy and 1 lap fast. Rest after this.
- Repeat five times, with no rest and if possible, try to aim for 500 meters.
- Now, rest.
- Now try 2 laps with KICK only (200 meters) and then 2 laps freestyle (200 meters) and then rest.
With this warm up session, you have covered a total of 1,000 meters. This workout is an outline for someone wanting to achieve basic conditioning while maintaining muscle tone and flexibility. If you work-out regularly and like to swim for a change then this warm up session will be a great fit for you. Eventually, you will be able to swim up to an hour, or up to 3,000 meters (two miles).
How to breathe while swimming?
Breathing in running and biking isn’t too influenced by environment. The body can consciously trigger faster breathing if needed but in swimming, the case is different. You need to work harder breathing underwater and outside the water and maintaining a balanced cycle of inhaling and exhaling.
The first step to proper underwater/swimming breathing is learning to keep the face underwater without any hindrances. Once you have grown comfortable with the idea, you can learn distinct techniques for breathing like rhythmic breathing, two or three stroke breathing, etc.
A problem that most beginners encounter is that they are not able to breathe properly outside the water and exhale properly inside the water.Rhythmic breathing is simple, it only requires the swimmer to inhale outside the water and exhale inside the water. The swimmer only needs to properly exhale in the water so when they bring their head out of the water, they are ready to fill their lungs with fresh air. They need to be able to do so through mouth or nose.
Mistakes that Beginners tend to make
One of the best ways to burn calories is swimming but before opting for it there are certain points that must be considered and even followed while swimming. Below are techniques and skills which will focus from head to toe and make one of the best swimmers.
- You hold your breath
People who are new to swimming or are learning basics are taught to take a deep breath before going inside water. They are asked to hold breath which will deprive muscles and make it difficult to breathe.
One must use mouth to breathe in and nose to exhale oxygen slowly. But make sure this practice is done on dry land instead of swimming pool. After proper practice, one can try this in water where after taking breathe one can go inside water and slowly exhale through the nose. Next step is to take face out of the whole breathing process again.
- You take your head out of the water to breathe
One who takes their head out to breathe more often get their body alignment out of order. This will indirectly make swim zig zag as hips are in the water but face if out to breathe. This is wrong and so one must work on this to make sure they swim straight.
It is very important to keep the head down while the chin is tucked into neck which will make body firm. Breathing must be done as on the same side of an arm which is out of the water. It will help to maintain perfect shape of bod in water.
- You let your hips sink
It is very important to be flat and float in water as it will help to make body light. Learners always face the problem where hips sink in water and this creates misbalance of the body. This makes body difficult to swim and thus body start sinking in water.
How to keep body floating?
It is very important to keep hips high in the water as it will make easy to swim. It is very important to make it possible as kicking is very important in swimming.
- You don’t finish your stroke
Swimming is all about techniques and skills where swimmers are required to finish stroke before starting another. Beginners always start new stroke before completing the last one which loses energy and thus makes it difficult to swim smoothly.
How to solve issues regarding stroke?
Stroke is complete only if arm reaches the hip before it comes out and so one must make sure to practice accordingly. The forearm is used to push water backward which at the same time will make the body go forward. Once hand enters the water try to move forward and continue to rotate elbow till the arm reaches the hip.
- Flat Swimming
It is very important to be straight while swimming but at same time movement must be done according to requirement. To be perfect swimmer it needs rolling by side which will help to cut water and move forward.
This will make it easy to learn swimming and prove very effective especially for beginners. One who is able to reduce swimming mistakes will find it very easy to learn all other skills that will help to reduce extra weight of body.
Guide to Proper Nutrition for Swimmers
Nutrition and diet plan for swimmers:
All active people require a diet which gives them sufficient energy in the form of carbohydrates and fats along with essential protein, vitamins and minerals. A proper nutritious and balanced diet is integral for swimming or any kind of fitness regime. Every athlete needs fuel to power them through their sport.
What should you eat before and after swim session?
Pre- and post-swimming session snacks and meals are very crucial to help keep the blood sugar levels extremely balanced, specifically immediately after a swim.
Pre-Diet for Swimmers
- A diet power packed with complex carbohydrates like wholemeal pasta, sweet potatoes and brown rice, are an excellent source of energy for swimmers.
- If you require an energy boost just prior to swim, you could opt for a mix of lean protein and carbs.
- Smoothies are an excellent way to provide your body with a holistic source of nourishment that fill your system with all the nutrients you need without putting any kind of pressure on the digestive system. Make sure to leave plenty of time (approximately an hour, ideally) prior to jumping in the pool to not feel bloated.
- If you’re swimming to lose weight, choose a low-fat, lower-calorie pre-swim snack or just a smaller portion can definitely help to ditch the pounds faster.
- Dates and nuts are an amazing energy boosting, pre-workout snack as they are filled with a massive amount of natural sugars and fats. They are very easy to digest, so you don’t feel bloated or heavy in your stomach before a swim.
- To put it down more elaborately, it is advised that the pre-swim diet must comprise of simple carbohydrate-rich and protein-rich foods like eggs, wholemeal bread, sports drinks and fresh fruit juices or sports bar about one or two hours before a swim.
Post-Diet for Swimmers
For every athlete, including a swimmer there is a dire need for recovery foods that forms an important part of the swimming nutrition. There are many people who tend to neglect the food they eat post an intense exercise, however, it’s very crucial to nourish your body after swimming as well.
- Make sure to consume fresh fruit juice in order to provide carbohydrates, fluid and electrolytes or body salts dilute with water to your system if it tastes too acidic.
- Food items known to be best in order to replenish your body after swimming are Milkshakes, banana shake, sugarcane juice, nuts, peanut butter with brown bread and soy milk. These items provide a holistic nourishment of carbohydrates, proteins and healthy fats.
- A good post-swim primary meal could also be a baked sweet potato with some lean protein like chicken, or fish. Ensure to avoid fatty foods.
- Rather than unhealthy fats, opt for healthy and light snacks such as fresh fruit, smoothies, whole grains, nuts, seeds, protein shakes and cereal bars. Post a swim session, protein bars, fruit and yogurt are all excellent options.
- Swimming in the morning increases your metabolism for the rest of the day, so choose an array of healthy snacks to consume as mid-meals post swimming in order to avoid energy lows.
How much should you drink?
Dehydration could stop even the most health conscious and physically fit individual from playing his or her best game. It is a fact that swimmers do not get dehydrated soon because they are in cool water and don’t sweat profusely as much as any other sports or workout activity performed on land.
- Generally, the rule would be to drink about 125 ml of fluid for every kilometer swum. Therefore, take a water bottle with you to the poolside and drink plenty before, during and after the swimming session.
- Any kind of exercise will make you sweat and swimming is a part of it. Regular sips of water during swimming and drinking plenty of water throughout the session is the best precautionary measure.
Swimming safety guidelines for beginners
The US consumer product safety commission highlighted that 390 deaths a year occur due to drowning in swimming pool or at spa. A depressing 75% of drowning deaths of children aged younger than 15 happened at private swimming pools (home pool or neighbor’s pool).
Swimming is sure worth the risk but the risk is very high and children and adults both should be extremely cautious when swimming or learning the art of swimming.
Let’s take a look at few precautions that one must follow to keep safe while swimming:
- Supervise Children
The first tip to learning swimming is having supervision. IT’s an absolute no to have anyone swim without supervision whether adult or child, beginner or advanced. Why leave room for accidents when you can take precautions and ensure your safety!
- Swim Only When a Lifeguard Is on Duty
Everybody loves adventure but avoid swimming without adult supervision when you are at a beginner level. Having advanced swimming skills sure gives you the confidence but it isn’t always helpful. It’s best to swim when there is a lifeguard on duty and only in areas that are listed for supervised swimming.
- Do Not Swim Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol
Drugs might alter your vision or may even cause you to hallucinate and rupture your concentration senses. They may hinder your perception and cause you to lose breathe, balance and ability to swim. Thus, it is best to not go swimming when you are drunk or have taken any kind of drugs.
- Never Swim Alone
Accidents may happen to even strong, advanced level and expert swimmers so swimming alone is just not recommended. Always have a buddy or a family member watching you so they can immediately call for help and save your life when need arises.
- Avoid Diving Headfirst
Dig stunts? Yeah, everybody does. But a stunt that you should refrain from underwater or when going swimming is head-diving. Don’t go head first in the water ever. If the water is not too deep, you might hurt your head and if it’s shallow then the water of uncertain depth may cause you trouble while trying to swim up. It may even cause you injuries.
Choose the Best Swimming Accessories
Mandatory essentials and Basic swim gears every beginner must carry
- Swim Caps
- Swim trunks
- Ear plugs
- Nose clips
Swimming accessories for later stage
- Hand Paddles
Read more about the swimming gears in detail here.
Stay motivated to swim all seasons
Summer Sanders once said, “I enjoyed every bit of my swimming career. I think that’s the most important advice — to enjoy what you do.”
But how to find the motivation to swim all seasons? Many find the idea too tiresome and dizzying during the colder and rainy season. But swimming doesn’t work that way. Here are some tips you must follow:
The most basic step towards accomplishing something is wanting to do it. It’s the desire that makes you fall head over heels in love with your goal and really hope to accomplish it. Visualizing the success of having done it and having the passion for a goal is what will initiate you towards finishing it.
- Pick a season oriental goal for swimming
Bring some fervor to your swimming by introducing a season oriented goal. Pick a goal that motivates you and personalize it with a holiday themed objective or end result that you are aiming to accomplish. You can pick a goal for everyday swimming or pick the number of laps you want to cover or focus on breathing by setting breathing goals.
- Recruit a friend
Swimming is not a team activity but wouldn’t it be nice to have some company? If you have grown rather tired of swimming alone or find your routine monotonous then try enlisting a friend for some fun. It won’t just take the monotony out of the routine but also give you a good reason to swim: Healthy competition.
- Have a plan
If you swim out of a hobby and are not quite active when it comes to competitions, you may fall off the wagon and your routine may get hurt. To maintain a strict and regular swimming routine you have to work harder than usual.
- Don’t forget to have fun!
Alan Rickman once said I want to swim in both directions at once. Desire success, court failure. How inspiring and wonderful! Truly motivating words by a great man. Follow the advice and check out some other swimming quotes and incorporate them in your life to feel motivated all year round.
Swimming is highly cathartic for the mind and body so you will definitely feel its results. But there are other ways of enjoying the activity like having a positive attitude and bond with your teammates and coach. You can socialize and build a group with the people you swim with you have plenty more reasons to show up every day and have fun.
For more motivational quotes on swimming, check out this link.