Picture this: You undergo intense workout every day, lose weight and calories and gain muscle power. But, at the same time, you don’t sweat. Don’t be baffled! We are talking about swimming – one of the best cardio exercises for your all-round fitness.
But like all workout regimes, swimming requires proper training. You need to know the vital strokes and breathing techniques to get it done right.
Swimming Strokes You Should Know About
There are more than 50 different swimming strokes. Here we will focus on four essential ones. These four swimming strokes, practiced by professional swimmers, are used in popular swimming competitions and are beneficial to health.
- The Freestyle Stroke: Take the prone position in the pool. Move one arm toward your hip in the water from over your head forming a circle. Do the same with your other arm. This alternate movement of the arms helps you move forward. Perform flutter kicks with your legs simultaneously. Flutter kicks are downward and upward movements of your legs in the water. Breathe in as you turn your head to the side while lifting one arm at a time.
- Breaststroke: In the prone position, bring your arms together in front of you. Move them each towards the sides forming a semi-circle as you raise your head. Breathe in during this time. It is as if you cut the water with your hands to move forward as your legs perform a whip kick. Best for beginners, you can keep your head above the water.
- Butterfly Stroke: The butterfly stroke is a powerful and one of the most difficult swimming strokes. It requires you to be in a prone position with arms stretched out in the front. Your head should be aligned to the body with eyes on the pool floor. Your legs should be straight together with pointed feet. Move your arms to your hips. As you bring it overhead, you raise your torso from the water level and dive back into forming a curve. Breathe in as you raise your torso. Maintain a flat posture as much as possible. In the butterfly stroke, you pull the water backward with your arms and perform dolphin kicks.
- Backstroke: Lay your back flat on the water. Maintain a straight horizontal alignment. Raise one arm and move it backward and then the other in alternating circular movements. Keep your feet relaxed and perform flutter kicks.
Here's 6 Health Benefits of Swimming
- Mega calorie burn: You can burn about 500 – 750 calories with one hour of swimming. The calorie burn depends on your weight and stroke style.
- Get flexible: Swimming benefits also include enhancement of your flexibility. The movements involving stretches, pulls, reach and twists through the water will loosen you up in no time.
- Gain muscle strength: The resistance of water is about 40 times more than air. This compels you to put a lot more effort to move through it. So even if there are no weights or machines involved, your muscles get strengthened and toned anyway.
- Enhanced cardiovascular functioning: Swimming is an aerobic exercise. It consists of continuous and rhythmic movements that strengthen the heart. Regular swimming enhances cardiac efficiency resulting in better circulation.
- Sweat Free: Finally there is an exercise in which you don’t realize that you are sweating. It is because the water helps to cool your body temperature eliminating exhaustion. The soothing experience of swimming even calms and de-stresses the mind.
- Easy on the joints: It is gentle on joints reducing the risks of injury. If you are suffering from bone and joint troubles like arthritis, back pain or multiple sclerosis, the low-intensity exercise of swimming is perfect for you.
Swimming is the one exercise that you can perform even when injured. The calming effects of water have proven to be an effective treatment for mental problems like depression and anxiety.
So, it doesn’t matter if you don’t know swimming or are afraid of the water. Learn the techniques under expert guidance and shoo away your fears because you will not get a more refreshing fitness routine than this.