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Top 5 common swimming mistakes

July 15, 2013 Better Health Blog Comments Off

As a seasoned swimmer, here are a few common mistakes I see a lot of swimmers making at local swimming pools, especially beginners:

  1. In through your mouth, out through your nose – Unlike land activities such as yoga or running, you have a much higher chance of choking on water breathing in through your nose. Your mouth can serve as a filter of sorts if water goes in, but water in your nose is as good as water in your lungs. Blowing air out your nose also prevents water from coming in, even when you are upside down in the water.
  2. Don’t go all out – You wouldn’t sprint as fast as you could every time you went running, so why do the same while swimming? I see too many people at swimming pools huff and puff for a full length for about 30 seconds and then sit at the wall for five minutes to recover. This is not as efficient, nor as good for your cardiovascular and respiratory health as swimming slowly and steadily for two or three minutes, resting for 30 seconds and then swimming again.
  3. Relax – Try to relax as much as possible when you are not making propulsion movements (ie. Pulling, kicking, etc). Your muscles work by tightening and loosening, and if you are relaxed, your muscles can tighten more and thus create more power.
  4. Tighten up your core and straighten your body – Since you are basically lying flat without any support while you are swimming, your natural position will be a flattened-out U shape with your stomach and hips at the lowest points. This is not the ideal aerodynamic (or hydrodynamic, if you will) position because as you are swimming, water will be running into your body. To solve this problem, try tightening your core (try sticking your belly-button to your back), raising your hips and stomach, and lower your head position to counter-balance your sinking middle. A good way to lower your head is to try to touch your chin to your chest, especially if you are doing front crawl.
  5. Warm up – Some of you probably are swimming because you are recovering from other injuries and your physiotherapist or massage therapist told you that swimming has very little impact on the human body. They are right, but that does not mean you won’t pull something if you jump into the cold pool and start swimming right away. The cold will make your muscles sluggish and increase the chances of injury, so before you jump in the pool, make sure you wave your arms, jump around, or do anything that would help your muscles get warmer.

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