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How to Swim

Learning to swim, whether you are teaching yourself as an adult or teaching a child, can be daunting if you have no experience of being in the water. Swimming should be something fun not scary, so we want to help you learn how to swim and enjoy every minute of it! Our advice here is mainly aimed at swimming for beginners, to help those that are starting from zero but if you have had lessons or are a more experienced swimmer then check out our swimming tips or different types of strokes for further information.

Perfecting the correct swimming technique will take practice as you spend more time in the water. Once you’ve got it, you’ll be sure to feel the swimming benefits, such as muscle toning and strengthening. Swimming is a great activity for all ages and you should be able to enjoy it as much as possible so we have put together a basic guide to help you learn to swim.

Learning to Swim

When learning how to swim, your safety is the most important thing. It is recommendable to enroll in swimming classes at a gym or local swimming pool but if you want to get ahead of the game then follow our swimming basics below. If you are comfortable enough in the water then you can try by yourself, if not take someone experienced with you, wear armbands or use other appropriate swimming attire, and always make sure there is a lifeguard on duty.

  • First things first, get comfortable in the water, whether that means starting off by just dipping in your feet and slowly progressing to get your whole body in the water.
  • Breathing underwater is the next step to make sure you feel safe when swimming, start by inhaling a deep breath and going underwater for a few second to come back up and let it out. Move on to exhaling under water as well.
  • Practice normal exercises you would do on land, but now underwater. For example, playing catch, running, throwing a brick under and jumping to collect it…
  • Learn to float on water, both on your back and on your front but also on your sides, dipping your head under and holding it up.
  • Perfect your swimming kick by holding on to the edge of a swimming pool, progress by replacing the wall with a noodle or float so you can start moving through the water.
  • When you feel like you are comfortable with all of the above, and you know yourself or the person you are teaching to be ready to move on, then take a look at beginning the swimming strokes.

Everyone learns how to swim at different paces which is important to remember. You might want to begin to learn in the shallow end of a pool to get used to doing movement underwater and then move on to the deep end. Move on to the next step when you are ready and do not be afraid if at first you don’t quite get it, keep practising!


Swimming Attire

Swimming as an activity requires appropriate clothing due to it bein done underwater, the risks of being underwater and to make your body as streamline as possible. There are many different pieces of equipment or clothing that you would need for swimming, especially when it comes to your safety.

Depending on your level of experience, you might need more swimming equipment to help you learn how to swim if you are starting swimming for beginners. When you are more experienced, you might want to invest in proper swimming clothing to improve on the types of strokes you are practising.

As a hobby, activity, or competitive sport, swimming is a fantastic way to stay active and improve your fitness. There are many different swimming exercises to get involved in or swimming workouts to try out. Master you swimming technique and have fun!

Swimming Clothing

Whether you are going swimming in your local indoor pool, the gym or your own home, it is important to wear water-friendly clothes that are appropriate for exercising underwater. Here are some of the main pieces of swimming clothing to look out for that can be bought in most sports shops, supermarkets or online:

  • Swimming Costumes: normally referring to women’s one-piece swim suits
  • Swimming Trunks: men’s swimming shorts, loose-fitting and come up above the knee
  • Speedos: men’s swimming attire, tight-fitting and much shorter than trunks
  • Swimming Shoes: water-friendly shoes with grips underneath to be worn inside and outside of the pool
  • Swimming Diapers: special swimming costumes for babies and toddlers

Swimming Equipment

Swimming Accessories

The following lists gives some ideas on additional swimming equipment you might need when learning to swim or to use to improve on your technique. They can also be bought online or in sports shops. When taking swimming lessons, you might be required to have your own of the following:

  • Swimming Goggles: used to keep your eyes open underwater
  • Swimming Cap: covers your head to keep your hair dry and streamline your body
  • Swimming Flippers: worn as shoes underwater to improve your kick and make your body streamline
  • Swimming Flipboard/Floats/Noodles: used to help balance, float and improve your technique
  • Swimming Armbands: helpful for beginners and children
  • Swimming Bricks: used for activities, heavy weights that sink to the bottom of the pool
  • Swimming Nose Clip: if you are uncomfortable or inexperienced breathing underwater

Swimming Tips

Whether you are a professional swimming athlete, or just enjoy a dip in the pool every now and then, there is always room for improvement! Our swimming tips will help you overcome some basic swimming mistakes and get you gliding through the water. Your swimming technique will get better the more you practise, so don’t be water shy. Go to your local gym, or visit your nearest indoor pool and try out out swimming exercises and swimming workouts.

Many people want to know the difference in swimming vs running as the best fitness routine. The swimming benefits and running benefits are each different and catered to the individual sport, so these swimming tips will help you get the best benefits from swimming, while running tips will give you the best out of running. Why not combine the two workouts into one super-workout?

Best Swimming Advice

For more specific tips for the different types of strokes, visit the detailed pages for more information. The following swimming tips here are to help in general, from swimming experts to those starting swimming for beginners.

  • The more you swim, the more comfortable the strokes become and the better you move in water. It might seem clichéd, but practise, practise, practise!
  • Improvement involves technique as well as mastering the strokes, so try to do other exercises and drills in the pool.
  • Getting streamlined is important, the best way to do this is from the push-off at the start of the stroke. Keep trying different ways to push-off the pool wall, with hands or no hands, to find which helps you move best through the water.
  • As a beginner, or even someone experienced looking to improve, adding fins or flippers to your workout can help you see the way you should be moving in the water and give you a starting point to imitate the motion.
  • Avoid looking straight forward! Your head should move in the same movement and direction as your hips, so you want to either be looking straight down or to the side.
  • Remember to exhale underwater, don’t be afraid of doing this because this is a great tip. Exhaling out of water will tire you quicker and is less effective.
  • Keep your palm parallel to the water, especially when extending it forward to better your propulsion.




Swimming Technique

Mastering a great swimming technique will take a few simple steps and lots of practice in the pool. Swimming does not have to be difficult as it can be altered to your level of ability and what you want to achieve. After you have got to grips with the basics of how to swim, then it is time you looked at the correct swimming technique needed to make you feel comfortabel in the water.

If you are learning about swimming for beginners, then make sure you understand fully the types of strokes first before looking at your technique. If you are more experienced, then the information below will be good for you to improve and make sure you are doing everything correctly. Check out our swimming tips for further help, or our swimming workouts for alternative ways to get better!

How to Improve Your Swimming Technique

Before attempting to improve your swimming technique, make sure that you are comfortable with the basics of swimming and entering the water. It is important to not be afraid of being underwater as you need to be able to control your breathing to master the technique.

  • Be comfortable just floating in the water, learning to float is a basic part of understanding how your body reacts to the water and how you can learn to balance
  • Master the flutter kick which is a good principle to know before mastering the strokes, it will also help you to scull and tread water which are important skills too
  • Doggy paddle is a type of movement in the water where you are floating above and moving at the same time, it builds the strength in your muscles which are needed for the complex strokes
  • Make as little splash as possible with both your arms and feet, this improves the streamline shape your body will make in the water
  • Keep your balance when swimming as this will decrease the drag of the water, as you bring your head up to breath you should remember what the rest of your body is doing
  • Improving your propulsion through the water is vital by rocking more side to side, using your core muscles for movement and anchoring your arms

Have a look at our swimming exercises for more ways to improve your strength underwater and the swimming benefits to motivate you to improve your technique.


Swimming vs Running

As two great activities for fitness and weight loss, swimming and running both come with their different advantages. If you are looking to keep active and stay fit then both of these sports will do the trick. They are both extremely popular and equally right for you, depending on what you are looking for. You should remember to choose the one that you enjoy most and that you feel will help you achieve your goals.

When trying to decide between swimming vs running, it is important to understand the difference between the two and also the swimming benefits and swimming tips, as well as running tips, to make sure you get the most out of each sport. Reading through our information on running for beginners and swimming for beginners should provide you with a better idea on the two fitness activities.

How is swimming good for you?

As a water-based form of exercise, swimming reduces the stress on your joints due to the way water makes your body lighter. The resistance of the water also is greater than that of air, so when practising different types of strokes you are working more on toning your muscles than it might seem. Despite burning less calories, swimming will still burn a significant amount that would be more than walking or weight-lifting. Both these exercises will focus on working your spine, however, swimming allows you to train your body as a whole as the kicking actions of your legs and pulling actions of your arms work together efficiently.

How is running good for you?

As a land-based exercise, running can be a high-impact workout that stimulates bone growth and increases your heart rate but you are more vulnerable to running injuries due to the stress on your joints. Compared to swimming, an hour session of running will burn considerable more calories at a high-intensity speed, but a light jog for the same duration will burn approximately the same amount as a swimming session. Similar to swimming, your spine will be the main point of muscle action, followed by your legs which will receive specific attention. During running, your upper body contributes to the work but doesn’t receive the benefits as it would in swimming.