By Chris Klinkow
DHAC Aquatics Director and Hydras Swim Coach
Swimming is a whole-body/ low impact exercise. It is a good overall fitness choice for everyone, including those with physical limitations and those who find other exercises too painful. Few fitness choices offer the same overall benefits. So why don’t more people swim for fitness? The most frequent answer: “Because I am exhausted five minutes after I start.”
No doubt. Swimming is tough. Like other sports and exercises, swimming is highly technical. Getting the most out of it is largely about efficiency. The more efficient you are moving through the water, the longer you will last.
So how does one swim more efficiently? Let’s start with body position. If you visit the family pool deck during swim team practice or swim classes, you will surely hear coaches and instructors chanting “keep your head down!” Why?
Think of your body as a seesaw. Your upper body is more buoyant than your lower body. When swimming crawl or freestyle, if your upper body is positioned higher in the water, your denser lower body is forced down. You wind up dragging your legs. Even when kicking hard, the effort of raising them up to kick burns through energy quickly.
But when you swim in a more level or flat position, you save energy, allowing you to workout longer.
Not sure if your body position is flat? Try staring at the tiled line at the bottom of the pool as you swim down the lane. When you watch the bottom of the pool, you will naturally lower your head in the water. Viola – swimming suddenly becomes easier.
What are your swimming challenges? How about your victories? Share your swim stories with us! We would love to know your thoughts.