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Swimming

 
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Swimming is more than a great way to cool off when it’s hot, it’s also a fun activity that helps you work out your whole body. If you don’t know how to swim, or you want to brush up your skills, you’ll want to take some lessons at your local pool. There, you’ll master the basics to help keep your head above water.

Floating –  Our bodies have a natural tendency to float — so go with it! Relax and let the water support your body. Lie back with your arms stretched out to the side. Turn your palms up and keep the backs of your hands in the water. Arch your back, stretch out your legs (some gentle kicking will help you float easier), and take short breaths to stay relaxed. Floating is a great way to rest, or rest while you call for help if you don’t have enough energy to swim to shore or the side of a pool.

Treading water – Another way to keep afloat is to tread water. Get into the water and pretend you are gently riding a bicycle, with your back straight and your arms straight out in front of you. Sweep your arms together with your palms facing down and in. Then, sweep them back out with your palms facing down and away from each other.

Now that you know how to keep your head above the water, try swimming with your head below water!

Swimming underwater – Breathe in as much air as you can and then let it all out, take one more breath and hold it, and slide under the water. (Even though it seems like taking lots of quick breaths before going underwater could help you, doing that is called “hyperventilating” and it can actually make you pass out underwater. Not good!) Stretch out your body with your legs together and your arms straight out a little bit above your head. Pull your legs up then kick them apart to start gliding. Next, bring your legs together and kick in a scissor motion to move around. While you kick, put your arms out to your sides and push them back towards your legs. Glide as far as you can, and then come back up when you need a breath. Try to stay relaxed and don’t push yourself too far. The more you practice, the stronger your lungs will become.

Once you’ve got the basics, to be a strong swimmer and enjoy lots of water activities, you’ll need to learn these strokes: backstroke, breaststroke, freestyle, and butterfly — to name a few!

 Check out Safety Rules before you get started. To decrease the chance of muscle cramps, let your food get digested.  Wait at least 1/2 to 1 hour after you eat to start swimming.

Eat healthy in order to keep your energy and attention levels up so that you can perform at your best. Get your five fruits and veggies a day, low fat dairy, and lean meat, chicken or fish proteins. Make sandwiches with olive oil or canola oil mayonnaise. Drink lots of water and stay away from high sugar drinks. Choose healthy snacks like ice cold fruits or veggies. Stick with low sugar and low saturated fat bars.

We gratefully acknowledge BAM! Body and Mind from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for information used in the Sports Definitions.

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