23 October 2012 | last updated at 08:20PM
FOR many people, swimming is an enjoyable activity of splashing in the pool or the sea.
But do you know it can improve your cardiovascular fitness as well as muscular strength without any impact, because it is non-weight bearing.
We can swim to maintain our endurance as it provides a remarkable cardiovascular and muscular workout without weighing on the joints.
Swimming doesn’t put any impact on the bones. Women who rely on exercise for osteoporosis prevention need weight bearing workout and should consider adding more appropriate fitness components to their training, such as walking or running.
You cannot learn swimming from a book and you certainly can’t learn it from this article. If you can’t swim, go sign up for lessons by a certified coach.
There are a number of different swimming strokes you can use, which use different muscles. Try to use a combination of strokes to ensure that all your muscles are worked.
When swimming, arms are used mainly to get the forward motion, while legs play a vital role in keeping the body balanced. Keep hands slightly cupped as they enters the water to catch the water.
Sweep hands outward and press the water laterally to your body. Then sweep hands towards your hips and finish the stroke by extending your arms as much as possible.
On recovery to the next stroke, your elbows leave the water first. Keep kicking with your legs all the time.
Your legs are vital in backstroke and should be kicking all the time below the water for maximum efficiency. Your palms should enter the water first, followed by the arms with the hands cupped to catch the water.
Flex your elbows and press the water laterally until hands are just about level with your chest. When your arms are fully straightened, start the recovery by taking your palms out of the water first, rotating the shoulder joints and allowing your fingers to enter the water first on re-entry.
For an effective breaststroke, it is essential to get the timing of your legs and arms right in order to cover maximum distance with the least amount of effort.
Start by pushing your arms out in front of you to create a forward glide as your legs kick back. Cup the water and press your hands against the water laterally with arms slightly bent, then sweep your hands toward your chest and start the upward leg movement in preparation for the kick.
To complete the stroke, thrust your hands forward to the straight-arm position as the leg kick starts.
The butterfly is one of the hardest to perfect. The timing of the arm pull and leg kick is essential for a continuous efficient stroke.
Your fingers should enter the water first, just as your legs finish their big kick. At this point, your arms should begin to bend as they press laterally and the small leg kick begins. You then turn your hands and press them toward your body as the small kick finishes.
Finish by pushing your hands toward your feet with straight arms, followed by the quick exit of the hands from the water and start the big leg kick as your arms recover and reach forward to re-enter the water.
Proper breathing requires practice. You should decide which method of breathing works best for you. It’s between trickle and explosive breathing.
Trickl breathing involves slowlyexhaling when your head is in the water and inhaling on the recovery as your head comes out of the water.
Explosive breathing requires you to hold your breath while your head is in the water, then quickly exhaling and inhaling as you lift your head out of the water in the recovery.