An Introduction to Swimming

Why you need to try this amazing sport

Butterfly stroke. Source: SwimmingWorld

Swimming is one of those rare sports that manage to pretty much cover everyone’s needs. From those with extremely athletic backgrounds, to those with rehabilitation needs and those with limited mobility, swimming really is for everyone. Swimming is a wonderful form of aerobic activity, which will increase your cardiovascular health as well as toning your muscles. The wonderful thing about swimming is that it cushions your body eliminating any potential strain around your joints allowing you to exercise without tension.

The swimming strokes

The great thing about swimming is that there are a number of different strokes you can do. You might not be comfortable with them all but there will at least be one you will love. Let’s take a look at the swimming strokes.

1. Backstroke

Backstroke has you lying on your back using an alternating motion with your arms combined with a flutter kick to accompany the stroke motions. The swimmer must finish on their back. It can be a very relaxed stoke and you can take it at your own pace or as quickly as you want.

2. Breaststroke

Breaststroke is probably the most popular stroke, which is probably due to the fact it is the oldest swimming stroke dating back hundreds of years. Breaststroke looks a little bit like a frog swimming in a lake, it requires simultaneous movements of both your arms and your legs on the same horizontal plane. Your arms are stretched out from in front of your breast in a heart shaped (or frog armed) pattern and recovered under or on the surface of the water.  The kick is simultaneous somewhat mimicking the motion use by your arms (or a frog). On turns and at the finish, the swimmer must touch the wall with both hands simultaneously at, above or below the water surface.

3. Butterfly

Butterfly is considered to be the toughest of the swimming strokes and looks most beautiful of the strokes when performed correctly. Butterfly looks like the motion of a butterfly flapping its wings so unsurprisingly it features a simultaneous recovery of the arms over the water combined with an
undulating dolphin kick. In the kick, the swimmer must keep both legs together
and may not flutter, or use any other form of kick. Both hands must touch the wall simultaneously on the turns and the finish. (The butterfly is actually the
newest stroke and was developed in the early 1950s as a variation of the
breaststroke.  It became an Olympic stroke in 1956 in Melbourne.)

4. Front crawl

Front crawl is the fastest stroke and is often referred to as freestyle. Front crawl is characterized by the alternate stroking of the arms over the surface of the water surface and an accompanying alternating (up-and-down) flutter kick. On the finish some part of the swimmer must touch the wall, it’s usually a hand and most swimmers do a flip turn, which is a forward roll at the wall.

Frontcrawl or freestyle stroke. Source: Little Swim School

Swimming aids

Swimming is so versatile and there are so many assistance moves you can incorporate to enhance your technique as well as fitness. Investing in a good quality float board is something all keen swimming enthusiasts and professionals alike do. A float board is perfect for both advanced swimmers and beginners. From a beginner’s perspective a float board will allow you to have a little extra support while you focus on using your legs properly and learning how to use your body to float efficiently. From an advanced swimmer’s perspective a float board is essential for training drills and circuits because it allows you to isolate your legs training power and speed without the use of your upper body. Another swimming aid that can be used by both beginners and professionals alike is a pull buoy. They go in-between your legs to stop the usage of your legs keeping them floating so you can isolate your upper body techniques and strokes to again, build strength and stamina without the use of your legs.

Swimming: An excellent calorie burner and muscle toner

Swimming is awesome for burning calories fast. Roughly a continuous swim for around 30 minutes can burn around 367 calories be it breast stoke, front crawl or backstroke at a steady pace. Due to the amount of calories burnt in a 30-minute window swimming beats walking, cycling and even running when it’s a numbers game! An excellent tool to use is the Calorie Cruncher because it can tell you how many calories your preferred swimming stroke will burn. As well as burning some serious calories the resistance of water against your body can be as much as 44 times greater than that of air, meaning you have to work much harder to move through it. Think of it like this, swimming is an affordable and enjoyable way to strengthen your muscles without a costly gym membership and without and strain on your joints.

Personal trainer and professional fitness writer, Betsy has dedicated her life to fitness. Having a career in competitive swimming for ten years she then found her love of weight training and bodybuilding in the gym environments and helps people transform their bodies day by day.
I have to edit them again cos I only have the old version of the bios so bear with me.

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