Flip Turns
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Flip Turns

Since summer is here, a variety of people take to the pool. Most of the time, it's just to splash and get wet on a hot summer day. However, the pool can be a great tool to fitness. Other than cycling, this is one of my favorite ways to exercise. I hope you will be convinced that it's your favorite, too.

Although there are exercise classes in the pool, and yes, they can be a great way to get fit, swimming laps is a very effective way to lose weight and get in shape. What will you need? A swim cap, goggles, and a good form-fitting swimsuit. Don't go for those skirted things! You will quickly realize it's a bathing suit, not  a swimsuit!  Several suits are designed for longer lasting wear using polyester in blends. A good suit will be your best friend.

If it's an outdoor pool, use sunscreen and make sure your goggles have UVA/UVB protection. The other thing you will need is the ability to stay on top of the water and move without causing the lifeguard concern that you may drown.  If you can puppy paddle, it won't be long before you will develop swim strokes. Swimming is a whole body exercise. Your core is constantly working. If you aren't used to swimming laps, you will need to rest more often. Hit the water!

Here are some tips to help you get the most of your swimming experience:

  • Inhale above the surface, exhale slowly under the surface. Don't hold your breath.
  • Lengthen your body and reach as if you are trying to touch the end of your lap lane.
  • Stay in your lane and watch out for other people.
  • Kicking powers your swim, so kick from the hip with the whole leg. Think of your leg as a long flipper.
  • Keep splash down. Think of cutting into the water with your hands, and keep feet below surface.
  • You can alternate between swimming face in the water with swimming on your back.
  • If you swim with others in the lane, find a group of slower swimmers and always swim on the right of your lane (U.S.). Rest in the far corner of the lane at the end.

Now, if you are beyond paddling and know some swim strokes, you can make the most out of your lap time like this:

  • Always warm up with a relaxed pace doing your favorite stroke for a few laps.
  • You don't have to do flip turns, but at least learn a quick way to change directions to keep swimming.
  • Begin breaking your strokes down into swim drills. If you need help, here is a great place to find ideas https://www.kiefer.com/blog/. There are also videos https://video.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?p=Swim+Drills+For+Intermediate+Swimmers&fr=yhs-mozilla-001&hspart=mozilla&hsimp=yhs-001
  • Competitive pools are usually 50 meters long. Find out the size and convert drill sets according to the pool you swim.
  • Don't worry if you aren't ready to do that many laps per stroke or drill. Build up.
  • Find a way to keep track of your laps. I used over-sized dice on the deck at the end of the lane. Swim sets can also help because the number of laps for each will automatically set the count for you.
  • Improve your stroke by taking lessons.
  • The smoother you can glide through the water, the better your cardio workout.
  • Use swim paddles and kick boards to help improve your skill and create a better cardio experience.
  • If you've never done circle swimming, learn. Having other swimmers share the lane will keep you more conscious of your own abilities while challenging you to swim better.
  • Ask the lifeguard when the best times are to lap swim.
Swimming is a great way to mix up your fitness routine. If you are looking for a pool, start with Ys and Community Recreation Centers who usually have a pool. You will see results quickly as you cut through the water swimmingly!

May God bless you!

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