Get the Most Out of Your Swimming Workouts
By Paul Rothbart
When the weather warms up, many people turn to water sports. Swimming is a great way to stay in shape. For those who live in climates that are warm all year or with access to an indoor pool, you can train in water all the time. Swimming is a great cardio workout, it strengthens muscles, and develops flexibility. Since the water is buoyant, it places very little stress on the back and joints. For many people, swimming is the ideal way to work out. As with any other type of exercise, you want to do it properly to get the most out of it. Here are some tips to maximize the effectiveness of your swim.
Focus on Your Form
Proper form is as important in swimming as it is in running, weight training, or any other workout. While swimming, your upper body should not be higher than your lower body. Raising your head and chest will create drag across your legs and hips, slowing you down and making your strokes much more difficult. When kicking, keep your knees straight. Move your legs at the hips. The ankles should be relaxed and feel floppy. Try to maintain fast, small kicks for greater efficiency. When stroking, extend your arm from the shoulder as your hand enters the water. Pull back through the water, keeping your elbow high. Swim slowly until proper form becomes second nature.
To swim with maximum efficiency, you must place your face down in the water during strokes. The way accomplished swimmers breathe is to turn the head to one side or the other during a stroke. Raise the mouth and nose out of the water and inhale. Turn your face back into the water as you pull your arm back. Exhale into the water, then turn your head to the other side as you begin that stroke. Practice slowly until you develop a rhythm. Your swim will be smoother and your workout much better.
Roll Your Upper Body
Rather than lift your head out of the water, when taking a breath, roll your body so that your chest faces the direction you are turning to. This will turn your shoulder, neck, and head and bring your face out of the water. Keep the opposite ear in the water and that corner of your mouth at its surface. This will allow you to take breaths with a minimum amount of drag. Your strokes will pull you through the water with less effort, making for a better workout.
Swimming is fun and one of the best forms of exercise there is. By doing it properly, you will maximize the effects of your work out and may even win a race or two.
To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Cartersville, Ga.