Top 10 Swimming Exercises And Their Benefits May 16, 2016

Swimming is an exemplary aerobic exercise which is proved to be good for maintaining a flexible and toned body. It’s ideal for the nervous and circulatory system and the impact it exerts due to the cardio workout prevents the body from diseases related to the nervous or circulatory system. You might have heard that swimming is a great exercise, but may not be aware of the actual swimming exercise benefits. Here’s what you need to know about swimming exercises.

There may be several challenges that you may face as a beginner. First and foremost is the fear of water. Secondly, it is learning about swimming strokes and then comes the crucial part of breathing while you swim.

Basics Of Swimming

As a beginner, breathing in a relaxed manner can appear to be slightly difficult. The fear of drowning will hold you back, but this is the most basic thing you need to master if you want to learn swimming.

Follow the tips and technique mentioned here to master the skill breathing when swimming:

  • Relax: Relaxing the face, jaw, mouth, and neck muscles is the most essential skill you need to learn to breathe properly while swimming. It is crucial not to tense and hold the breath under water during swimming.
  • Exhale: when the face enters the water, the mouth needs to be slightly open with a little bit of air going in between the lips. It is important that the air is blown out slowly. Exhaling too fast might obstruct the next inhalation, causing hyperventilation.
  • Inhale: We know that inhaling comes naturally and should not be forced. It has been observed that most swimmers breathe in through the mouth.
  • Prolong Exhalation: The period of exhalation should be twice as much as the inhaling time. This ensures relaxed breathing, which prevents hyperventilation.
  • Stay Calm: The most crucial thing to remember is not to panic in the water. If you happen to gobble up some water accidentally, then shape the tongue as you would do while pronouncing the alphabet K. This prevents the water from passing down the throat.

Top 10 Swimming Exercises

1. Freestyle

The swimmer is independent to swim in any style, and the most common and the fastest is the front crawl. Beginners who are uncomfortable in water are often advised to perform this technique as it is easy to practice. With moderate to high intensity, it burns around 500-700 calories.

2. Backstroke

This is the only swimming style which has a different start. Here, the breathing is simple and it works on arms, shoulders, legs, buttocks and stomach, burning 500 calories in an hour.

3. Breaststroke

Here the swimmer is on his chest and swims without moving his trunk. It burns approximately 720 calories using this stroke for an hour. It functions on shoulders, legs, hamstrings, triceps, and inner thighs and makes the chest muscle strong.

4. Butterfly

Here, the swimmer is on his breast where both the arms are moving simultaneously, with the butterfly kick. It increases flexibility, functions on arms, back muscles, triceps, abdomen, and chest.  It is the toughest stroke which requires extensive energy which helps to burn around 800 calories in an hour.

5. Dog Paddle

It is a very simple style where the swimmer lies on his chest, head up and paddle his hands and legs in an alternative manner imitating how dogs swim. This style is not used in competitions, but the only benefit is to simmer down the body in water.

6. Sidestroke

The swimmer lies on one of their sides with their arms and legs are in asymmetrically positioned motion. It is a very useful technique for lifesaving purpose and can also be used for covering long distances having minimal exertion. No stress to the shoulders, knees, and the lower back is put and can be used as a tranquilizer.

7. Streamline

It is used in the underwater swimming that goes before every kind of stroke at the start of any race. It is usually done to hike the speed as it lowers the resistance by streamlining the body with dolphin kicks. It requires stretching of the arms and legs.

8. Flutter Kick

It is a simple swimming exercise than breaststroke and dolphin kick but doing this productively takes a lot of effort and time. It engenders the muscle contraction of the thigh and works on the hamstrings, calves, glutes and different muscles in the feet.

9. Trudgen Crawl

Unlike front crawl, scissor kick is used instead of a flutter kick. It is less tiring for distance swimming than the front crawl, works on the back muscle which should be straight and as well as on the calves which makes them stronger.

10. Underwater Swimming

Swimming under water can be done in any way, mostly trudgen strokes. But the vital thing is holding the breath under water which helps in increasing and sprouting lung volume and improves the balance of nervous system.

Swimming Gears And Accessories

There are some basic swimming accessories like swimsuit, swim cap and swim goggles that are widely used by swimmers. There is certain other equipment and accessories that an experienced swimmer may require:

  • Swimming Caps

Swim caps come in a wide variety of colors, sizes, shapes and materials. It is important to choose the right swim cap that suits your needs the best.

  • Swimming Goggles

Swimming goggles come in various designs, colors, lenses, gaskets, straps and nose bridges. Most popular ones are the Speedo swim goggles, Futura Ice Plus, and Speedo Vanquisher swim goggles.

  • Nose Clips / Plugs

Nose clips are small rubber padded pieces of wire that can be fixed on the nose. Their purpose is to squeeze the nose so that water does not enter the nostrils. Nose plugs also serve the same purpose.

Other Miscellaneous Gear

a. Water Noodles Or Swim Noodles: These are long supple foam cylinders, which can be used as devices for floating. These act as great swimming aid for beginners.
b. Swim Paddles: These are used by seasoned swimmers as well. They strengthen the shoulders and allow you to swim at a much faster pace.

Swimming Benefits

swimmng-benefits pin_image_share

Image: Shutterstock

There are countless benefits of swimming. It is a great way to stay healthy, keep fit and make friends too!

  • Swimming helps to avoid premature or untimely death.
  • Swimming helps reduce stress levels just as meditation does.
  • Swimming boosts the level of endorphins that keeps you in high spirits and aids in complete relaxation.
  • Research has proved that swimming can change the brain for better. This happens through a process known as hippocampal neurogenesis that replaces cells lost through stress.
  • Swimming lowers the risk of contracting Type2 diabetes by over 10%.
  • Swimming can perfectly balance the cholesterol levels in the body. Like other aerobic exercises, it raises the level of HDL.
  • Unlike other aerobic workouts that are carried out in dry air, swimming involves exercise in moist air. This helps to reduce exercise induced symptoms of asthma.
  • Swimming is one of the best calorie burners and is excellent for keeping weight under control.
  • Other than toning the body muscles, swimming also aids in strengthening the heart. As such swimming serves as a great aerobic exercise for a healthier heart.
  • Swimming leads to a complete body workout. It improves the flexibility and provides an excellent stretch from head to toe.
  • It improves balance, coordination, and posture.
  • Swimming provides excellent low impact therapy for certain conditions and injuries.
  • It is an enjoyable and pleasurable way to cool down on a scorching hot day.
  • Swimming builds muscular strength, endurance and great for cardiovascular fitness too.
  • It is a super way to maintain healthy body weight, healthy lungs, and a healthy heart.

Spending time swimming is a wonderful way to tone the body muscles and increase muscular strength. It is also found to increase bone strength in case of post-menopausal women.

Swimming Tips For Beginners

Swimming-Tips-For-Beginners pin_image_share

Image: Shutterstock

  • Take a look at a few swimming tips and tricks that might help you improve your style of swimming and make you a better swimmer.
  • Keep your swim goggles on for minimum an hour so that you get accustomed to them. Keep an additional pair of goggles handy. One clear set for cloudy, foggy days and another dark set for bright sunny days.
  • Practice and focus on pulling straight back as you take a breath or roll your shoulder.
  • Go in for a pair of swimming fins so that you can focus on efficiently kicking without crossing one foot over anothSwimming Tips For Beginners:
  • Take a look at a few swimming tips and tricks that might help you improve your style of swimming and make you a better swimmer.
  • Keep your swim goggles on for minimum an hour so that you get accustomed to them. Keep an additional pair of goggles handy. One clear set for cloudy, foggy days and another dark set for bright sunny days.
  • Practice and focus on pulling straight back as you take a breath or roll your shoulder.
  • Go in for a pair of swimming fins so that you can focus on efficiently kicking without crossing one foot over another.
  • Swim fins also helps to increase the flexibility of ankles.
  • Use swimmer’s snorkel, so that you can focus on body rotation and arm strokes with ease.
  • Use silicon ear plugs to prevent ear infection and limit irritation.
  • Keep a small towel handy for drying, cleaning or wiping purposes.
  • Interact with experienced swimmers for guidance and some tips as well. Swim fins also help to increase the flexibility of ankles.
  • Use swimmer’s snorkel, so that you can focus on body rotation and arm strokes with ease.
  • Use silicon ear plugs to prevent ear infection and limit irritation.
  • Keep a small towel handy for drying, cleaning or wiping purposes.
  • Interact with experienced swimmers for guidance and some tips as well.

Few General Swimming Tips

Let’s have a look at some of the general swimming tips that will help you be a good swimmer:

  • Before you attempt to dive into the water, make sure that you have the knowledge of swimming.
  • It is advisable to select a safe environment for swimming.
  • Always remember to do warm up exercises and stretch your joints and muscles before you enter the water.
  • Have plenty of fluids handy and always keep your body well hydrated.
  • Do not overdo swimming, if you are just a beginner.
  • See your doctor before you begin to swim, if you have a sedentary lifestyle and have not done any exercise for a long period.

Prevention Of Swimming Injuries

Prevention-Of-Swimming-Injuries pin_image_share

Image: Shutterstock

Although swimming is a low impact exercise, swimming injuries may occur due to incorrect technique or over demanding workouts.

Some of these are listed below:

  • Swimmer’s shoulder
  • Breaststroke knee
  • Neck injuries
  • Lower back injuries

These injuries can be prevented by following these simple rules:

  • Always remember to do warm up and stretch before a swimming session.
  • After a swimming session, remember to cool down and stretch.
  • Develop your functional strength by following a general program.

When you start, swimming may seem like an uphill task. But, with the proper mindset, sheer determination, knowledge, and proper techniques, you can surely make it a success.

Be patient and soon you’ll be swimming like a fish!

So, do you swim? What do you enjoy most about it? Share with us in the comments section below.

The following two tabs change content below.
Profile photo of Khushboo Mehta

Khushboo Mehta