How to swim: Breathing
If you take up any of our swimming lessons, you will realize that we put a lot of emphasis on proper breathing. If you are going to learn how to swim well, a big part of the training will involve re-learning how you breathe. Just like any mechanical engine, our body uses oxygen to burn fuel (energy stored in muscles) and produce power to drive us and exhaust fumes, especially carbon dioxide. This post will teach you how to optimize your swimming by improving oxygen intake, utilization and exhaling. At the end, there are practical tips to try when outside the pool and when you decide to enter the pool, especially for beginners.
The next time you are close to a baby and you watch how they breathe, you will notice that their breaths are deeper and their stomach-rather than chest moves. As we grow up, we adopt poor breathing, embracing quick shallow breathing that limits the volume of air we take in. This induces fatigue quickly which makes your swimming more difficult and you are less likely to relax and enjoy water. Sports scientists, to correct this, encourage diaphragmatic breathing technique (DBT), which encourages us to breath from the diaphragm. DBT is also common with yogists and other meditation specialists who named it mindful breathing.
DBT is quite simple to learn and practice even outside water in normal daily activity. When walking for example, try raising your stomach as you breathe to familiarize the mind and body with timing and rhythm in DBT. During inhalation, take in a large volume of air, through the mouth, and slowly discharge the air continuously over the time required to hold, with a puffing action at the end. Doing this will remove all the air in the lungs, preparing them for the next inhale. Practicing this daily is a good way to prepare the body for proper swimming when breathing.
Try this next time;
If you are a beginner at the pool, at the shallow end, stand in water, inhale and then squat/fold your legs as you begin to exhale in small prolonged breaths. IF you sink to the bottom, you are breathing out well-if not, you still leave air in the lungs. You will notice that the time you spend in water improves as you continue learning. It also helps you relax and gain confidence in your ability inside water, which overall makes you a better swimmer.
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