Swimming is a great way to work a dynamic form of anaerobic exercise and broad muscle training into our health and wellness routine, but it’s also a valuable survival skill. It’s a skill that can open up more opportunities for you while you’re out travelling and adventuring, or even while spending a day relaxing at a local pool. That said, swimming can be quite daunting for beginners and like anything, takes practice to become proficient at and comfortable with. Below are five helpful tips for beginners who want to feel at home in the water.
Learn to be static. The first and most basic step of swimming competency is learning to be static in the water. Simply being comfortable enough to float on your back with your body suspended without panicking leads to increased awareness of how your body feels in the water and the muscle exertion required to keep your body parallel and close to the surface.
While doing a Swim Stroke, Pull straight back. As soon as your hands enter the water, your fingers should be pointing straight down. You should be focusing on pulling your arm and hand straight back as you rotate your shoulder or take a breath. Make sure your hand does not cross over the centre of your body while you are performing the breaststroke (one of the most essential swimming strokes we learn).
Use silicon ear plugs. Anyone who has spent any amount of time in the water knows that water in the ear is an inevitability. A good pair of silicon ear plugs will help prevent water from entering your ear and prevent it from becoming stuck, which can cause discomfort, even an ear infection.
Controlling your breathing. When people first learn to swim, one of the most trying and nerve-racking techniques to learn is to control your breathing in conjunction with the stroke you are performing. Breathing in a relaxed manner can be fear-inducing because you are worried about choking. Working out a timing system wherein you rhythmically swim and breathe is helpful, counting the seconds between breaths and strokes until it becomes muscle memory.
Treading water. Treading water, of all the swimming techniques we learn as beginners, is perhaps the most useful, especially in terms of its life saving capacity. Being able to support your body weight in the water for extended periods of time is a fundamental part of being comfortable in the water. It takes coordination to kick your legs while simultaneously sweeping our arms out and down. The technique requires some practice, but builds great confidence in the water.
Swimming, whether you are old or young, is a skill that has brought a lot of joy to people since human beings first walked the earth. We have a natural fear of and relationship with the water that can make swimming both exhilarating, as well as a source of anxiety. We’ve all met and spoken to people who wish they had learned to swim and limit themselves while they are on vacation, or relaxing at a friend or family member’s because they don’t feel comfortable in the water. Master the above five swimming tips for beginners and feel confident in you and your family’s ability to safely enjoy the water wherever you are.