Swimming is one of the best things you can do for your body as well as your mind. Whether you’re swimming for exercise, for fun, or as a professional sport, swimming is one of the best ways to keep your body fit and in shape.
While a lot of people think they have to hit up the gym and work out for hours to get a toned body, swimming for just 30 minutes a day can do the same, keeping you healthy and active long into life. It’s one of the best ways to combine exercise with fun, and if you don’t know how to swim yet – it can be learned at any age!
There’s a big misconception out there that swimming is difficult to learn on your own or at an older age. But we think that’s a limitation that will never help you achieve your dreams! The fact is that learning to swim is just a matter of learning how to do the fundamental movements. Once you’ve mastered them and have an idea of how swimming works, then with regular practice it’s easy to master the skill of swimming – no matter what age you are!
Before you learn to swim: 10 Simple Tips for Beginners:
- Wall breathing exercise
Hop into the shallow end of the pool and grab the edge of the pool wall with one or two hands and try this exercise:
- Inhale for two seconds using your mouth,
- Bend your knees to dip your head into the water,
- Exhale for two seconds through your nose.
While your head is in the water, bend your knees and try to keep your back slightly rounded. This way your hip movement is lessened while your body moves up and down.
Once you’ve done this exercise a few times, the next step is to do it again, this time while walking along the side of the pool edge. You can use your hands or let go of the wall. Do this exercise 5-10 minutes before you start your swimming training.
- Horizontal to vertical movements
For this exercise, start off by holding onto the pool edge with both of your hands. Here’s where to go from there:
- Inhale through your mouth and dip your head into the water,
- Lift up your feet so that you’re floating in the water,
- Wait 3-5 seconds while holding your breath,
- Slowly raise your knees up to your stomach and move your hands to the back while slowly exhaling,
- Let your feet slowly move back towards the floor of the pool,
- After your feet touch the floor, lift up your head above the water again.
After you’ve done this exercise a few times and feel comfortable with it, you can try to do the same thing without holding onto the wall for support.
To do this:
- Start out by floating on the water with your hands stretched in front of you,
- After 5 seconds, start blowing air bubbles into the water by exhaling through your nose,
- While doing this, bring your knees up to your stomach and place your hands back,
- Return your feet to the floor of the pool, and when they touch the floor, lift your head above the water again.
- Hand circles while walking and swimming
This exercise will teach you how to make circular arm movements to prepare you for different swimming strokes. Start by walking in the pool with your arms ahead of you in an arrow shape, making sure that they are submerged in the water. Begin to make large circles as if you’re flying, with your arms going about 20 centimetres deep below the water’s surface.
With each circle you make, touch your stomach as the arms move back up, and towards the end of your circle movements, come back to an arrow shape with your arms in front of you. Wait 3 seconds here, and then repeat your circle movements again.
After you’ve successfully mastered this little exercise, you can try to do it while incorporating gentle leg movements at the same time. This time, instead of exhaling in the water, come back to standing position and exhale with your head out of the water, just like you did in the exercise above.
- Standing with fins
Swimming with fins can be very different to swimming with bare feet! This exercise will get you accustomed to standing up in the water while wearing fins. Here’s how to do it:
- Inhale, duck your head underwater and stretch your arms out ahead of your body keeping them parallel to your shoulders,
- Start kicking your legs slowly to propel you forward,
- Just before you run out of air, start exhaling from your nose to make bubbles,
- At this point, move one hand and sit it on the opposite shoulder,
- Your body will start to turn by itself, without straining your lower back, and your heels will touch the floor of the pool by themselves,
- Once you come to a standing position with your fins on the floor, lift your head out of the water and take a breath.
- Hand circles while wearing fins
Now let’s get you used to circling your arms while wearing fins! Here’s how to do it:
- Start by making the arrow shape with your arms ahead of you,
- Inhale and dip your head below the water’s surface,
- Start kicking your legs to propel you forward in the water,
- After 3 seconds, make the large circular movements with your arms,
- When you’re almost out of breath, start exhaling through your nose to make bubbles,
- After that, lift your head out of the water with your arms still ahead of you and inhale slowly,
- Try to use your neck muscles as little as possible when lifting your head up for that inhale.
6. Breaststroke with crawling legs
Now we’ll get you practicing being in the water while lying on your back! Here’s how to do it:
- Float on your back in the water with your arms to the side of your body,
- Start kicking with your legs to propel your body,
- Keep your feet under the water’s surface and slightly bend your knees,
- While inhaling, start to bring your hands up along the side of your body very slowly until they reach your armpits,
- When your hands get to shoulder level, exhale through your nose and push the water back while making circular movements with your hands until they come back to touch your thighs again.
- Loose backstroke with timed breathing
Think it’s too soon to attempt backstroke? Don’t doubt yourself, by now you’re totally ready! Here’s how to get you started:
- Start by floating on your back with your arms to the side,
- With loose palms, inhale and very slowly bring one hand up into the air and bring it behind you,
- As your arm re-enters the water behind you, let out an exhale.
- Arrow arms, kicking legs
This is a fairly easy exercise to conquer if you’ve already mastered the arrow arm movements with your hands stretched out in front of you. Here’s how to do it:
- Start by making an arrow shape with your arms in front of you,
- Overlap one palm over the other to keep the arrow closed,
- If your shoulders aren’t flexible enough, keep the arrow 20 centimetres or more below the surface,
- Start kicking with your legs to propel your body forward.
- Shoulders loose, fins on
This time you’ll be practicing movements to keep your shoulder joints loose while you swim. Here’s how to do it:
- Float with your body face down in the water, hands by your sides and shoulders loose,
- Start by gently kicking your legs with fins on, keeping your arms by your sides,
- Carefully roll your body from one side to the other, holding your breath as you do this,
- Keep your head still and facing the floor of the pool while you perform these movements,
- As you kick your legs, try to propel your body in a forward movement so that you swim in a straight line,
- When you’re almost out of air, touch one hand to the opposite shoulder as you learned previously and stand up to take a breath.
- Front to back, and vice versa
Yes, you’re ready for it! The switch from front stroke to backstroke, and back again. Don’t doubt yourself because we believe in you and know you can do this! Here’s how to go about it:
- First swim a few strokes in freestyle, kicking your legs behind you to propel you forward,
- Instead of breathing and continuing forward, this time stop and flip over onto your back, doing a few strokes this way,
- Release your body and catch your breath while you’re on your back,
- Then flip back to freestyle, practicing the loose shoulder movements from the exercise above.