Swimming is the ideal activity for staying fit for the rest of your life..
It is suitable for every age. Swimmers gain muscle endurance and overall health condition. Only few activities provide such a complete development of the whole body. When swimming, one’s body is in the horizontal position and its regular turning to both sides develops its right and left parts. It is a suitable complement for every regular visitor of a fitness centre.
Swimming is good for exercising big muscle groups, but also for exercising the small muscles one had even no knowledge about the existence of. Swimming will make the muscles which are neglected and less preferred in fitness centres more solid and will thus reduce the chance that they will get injured. This sport represents a minimum load for the locomotor system and it can be thus indicated as the ideal candidate for reducing the body weight. The body is buoyed with no suffering for the joints. Swimming could be aptly indicated as a cardio workout instrument with zero demands on the joints.
Swimming is an endurance aerobic activity. Swimming will only be efficient if it is performed regularly and at a certain intensity. Such intensity should be achieved for a sufficiently long time. It is a problem of beginners that they get tired too quickly. The intensity is quickly decreasing and such passive swimming can only be called “bathing”. To handle long-term swimming, one has to “bust a gut” to get a good swimmer and to master the technique. The importance of mastering the technique is more significant than, for example, at running. Water resistance is up to 700 times greater than air resistance. The more force a swimmer applies to water, the greater is its resistance.
Another specific feature of swimming is that the body does not warm up to such extent as at running. When someone is running, their cooling is provided by sweating and releasing the heat into the air. Water flowing around a swimmer removes the heat far more efficiently.
While reading these lines, you even don’t realise that you are breathing. You breathe in and out as required. But when you are swimming, it is different. Breathing shall adapt to the stroke. The majority of amateur swimmers breathe in always on the same side. It is a mistake, since muscles are then developing asymmetrically. In the beginning, it will be perhaps unnatural, but you will achieve a more even development when you breathe in every third stroke. However, it means to breath one third less regularly than at one-side breathing. Breathing must be comfortable and if it is difficult for you to wait until the third stroke, breath in as required.
A frequent mistake is that arms bear the biggest load and the work of legs is omitted. So, use your whole body for swimming. Another common mistake is that one swimming stroke becomes our favourite one and it is then preferred to the other ones. When practising each of the basic swimming strokes (freestyle, breaststroke, backstroke, and butterfly), all the main muscle groups will be exercised. However, their combination will provide that none of the muscles will be omitted.
Energy expenditure at swimming depends on the pace, swimming technique, and body weight. The calculation of energy expenditure upon the covered distance can be based on the value of 15 kJ per kg and kilometre. It means that we will need four times more energy for overcoming the distance of 1 km than at running.