Swimming is one of the best activities for health, but if you want to take your swimming a notch above, you’ve got to learn and master certain strokes. Practising these strokes won’t just make you a better swimmer – they’ll also provide a variety of benefits for your health. In this article, we’ll take you through what those strokes are in detail, how to perform them, and the health benefits they have to offer. However, before we get started with the strokes, let’s go through some of swimming’s general health benefits:
- Relaxes and rejuvenates the mind and the body.
- Enhances metabolism and provides a boost of energy.
- Can burn way more calories than running.
- Beneficial for people suffering from muscle-related conditions such as multiple sclerosis.
- Can lower your cholesterol and blood pressure levels.
- Exercises all your body’s muscle groups, leading to enhanced strength and endurance.
- A great way to learn new and improve existing breathing techniques, which can also help people with asthma and other respiratory disorders.
So, now that you know the general health benefits of swimming, let’s dive into some different types of swimming strokes along with the positives they have to offer for your health.
The breaststroke technique is typically taught to new swimmers and it involves different and distinct movements for the arms and legs. To perform the breaststroke technique, your arms will have to be bent at the elbow and move in a semicircular motion at the same time. They have to sweep apart and come together in the direction of your chest.
Simultaneously, your legs will have to perform a technique called frog kick, which involves kicking with the legs as they are hip-distance apart. If you’re performing the breaststroke technique for the first time, it can be a bit difficult to get the rhythm right. However, once you start getting the rhythm right, you should kick when your arms are at rest and move your arms when your feet are at rest.
Breathing can also be a bit complicated at the beginning, as the breaststroke technique requires the head to constantly shift in and out of water. The breaststroke technique has the following health benefits to offer:
- Burns 200 calories within half an hour
- Works the muscles in the hamstring and chest regions
- Also benefits the arm, thigh, and core muscles
- One of the best cardio workouts as far as swimming strokes go
- Great for building endurance
2. Front crawl or freestyle
The front crawl or freestyle technique involves placing the body in a prone position, i.e. you will be on your stomach with your face in the direction of the water. While performing this technique, your torso needs to be stable as your arms and legs do all the hard work to keep you moving through the water. The movement of the arms needs to happen alternately, i.e. if your right hand is arching up, your left hand will be arching down. For minimizing resistance, you need to hold your fingers straight and together.
Your legs will have to perform the flutter kick technique, i.e. the legs will move like scissors with the knees bent. The best thing about this technique is that you can choose to do it either fast or slow, which isn’t possible with the breaststroke technique as it’s a naturally slow stroke.
To breathe while performing the front crawl or freestyle technique, you need to turn your face sideways from time to time. This technique’s health benefits include:
- Burns hundreds of calories within half an hour
- Takes swimmers farther compared to other strokes without spending more energy
- Gives a full-body workout by working arm, back, core, and leg muscles
Backstroke is a unique swimming technique as it involves placing the back on the water’s surface and not the stomach. In simple terms, the backstroke technique is the freestyle technique’s mirror image. The only difference is that you have to face upwards instead of downwards. The majority of your movement in this technique will be dictated by your arms, which have to work similarly to a windmill. As one arm comes out of the water and goes over your head, the other goes forward under you. This movement needs to keep happening alternately.
The movement of your legs in the backstroke technique will be the same as that in the freestyle stroke – the flutter kick. You can control the speed of swimming in this technique based on the frequency of kicks, i.e. more kicks will result in a faster pace and vice versa.
The best thing about the backstroke technique is that you don’t need to worry about your breathing as your face will remain above water at all times. The health benefits of backstroke include:
- Burns up to 250 calories within half an hour
- Improves your posture as your back needs to remain straight to perform this technique correctly
- Enhances hip flexibility
- Works on arm, core, and leg muscles
While there are several other swimming techniques such as butterfly and sidestroke, these three are the easiest to learn and master. However, if you’re looking for the easiest swimming technique to learn and master among these three, look no further than the breaststroke. For beginners, breaststroke is the best way to start feeling comfortable in the water. Also, as mentioned before, it’s a naturally slow technique – you can’t ever perform the breaststroke technique and move too fast. So, it’s easier to remain in control, learn these methods in your melbourne fibreglass pool to begin mastering these skills!
The freestyle technique, despite being the technique that allows swimmers to swim the fastest, can be difficult to learn as it involves a lot of simultaneous movements of the arms and legs. Also, breathing can be an issue initially as your mind will tend to focus more on the arm and leg movements instead of breathing, which can make you gasp for air.
In terms of breathing, there’s no easier technique than the backstroke. However, the problem with this technique is that you might not feel too confident performing it as you won’t be able to see the direction you’re moving in.
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