While floating on clouds is imaginary, floating on water is very much possible and it actually feels majestic and incredible too. Yes, swimming draws the right analogy to how it feels probably floating on the clouds. Having already lived thirty years of my life deprived from this incredible experience, this year in summer I hitched a sincere bonding with water by exploring my swimming trait. Ever after that I have found an additional wing to celebrate freedom of living on this planet.
Swimming is not only an exercise, a means of recreation, a leisure activity, an aid to survival, stress reliever but it’s a great combination of all these peculiarities which fortunately most of the mammals on this planet are naturally blessed with. However, it’s just our preoccupied mindset that tends to fear, dislike or disapprove getting surrounded with water, unlike, the comfortable atmospheric air.
In olden days, most people had discovered their inherent swimming talent while bathing in pond, river or some other available water bodies. Our urban lifestyle has inadvertently very less inclination towards the nature and thus, keeps looking for man-made alternatives to fill up the gap. We have got swimming pools instead of rivers, ponds, lakes etc. and other facilities to learn juggling in water. I feel unfortunate about this as I consider myself to be a nature’s daughter.
Nevertheless, I myself had learned swimming, a few months back, under the supervision of some experts in a swimming pool. It is always said that thing learnt at early age comes with real ease, convenience and less effort. True, but, keeping regrets aside, if one has strong will and believe, anything is possible to achieve at any point of time in life. Besides, learning new things is always fun and exciting, isn’t ?
Without any further delay, let’s sneak at some of the great benefits of swimming :
- It’s an all round activity which keeps physical health under check.
- Releases stress out of the body and mind.
- Helps maintaining a healthy weight, healthy heart and lungs
- Tones up muscles and builds physical strength.
- Great means of recreation for people of all age groups.
- A great sport to venture for competitive goals.
- Being a relaxing and peaceful form of exercise, alleviates stress while doing workout.
- A pleasant way to cool down during any hot day.
- Bonds great connection with nature.
How about swimming, now ?? Just kidding, but truly speaking, it’s something worthy spending time in. Though, I am not perfect in all swimming styles, but, I wish to share some tips as well as my own perceived step by step guide to swimming that I have unfolded from my experience and exposure underwater :
- Don’t be afraid of feeling the water and its pressure at depth, obviously chest deep for the new learners. Once, we feel comfortable, we can start practicing breathing outside water with mouth and exhaling underwater with nose.
- Most important thing that I learnt is that this body behaves like a balloon which can float well without effort, when our lungs are inflated with oxygen. Keeping this in mind, we can soon learn to float our body holding the edge of the pool.
- Head being heaviest and comparatively smaller in surface area, will tend to sink the body, if head is raised above water surface while floating. Keeping our face and partially head under water will tend to float our body like a piece of wood. It is always preferable to practice floating at comfortable water level according to our own height so as to incorporate intermediate standings in between, for breathing (with mouth outside water). We can exhale slowly while in floating position till exhausted completely and come back again in standing position to take the next breathe.
- Once, we master in floating with breathing in between, we can incorporate paddling of legs, much like a fish. Mind keeping the toes pointed inline with body to enhance the streamline posture while floating. Paddling will allow us to take intermediate breath while in floating condition itself. We can either, take breathe from side or from front.
- The next progression would be to cross a few meters of width of the pool (for safety purpose, we should practice it at shallow end only) while floating with continuous paddling; hands can be kept straight by the sides of the trunk or pointed, straight and stretched away from the body.
- Now, its time for incorporation of hand strokes which will complete the freestyle swimming. This is the most critical point which demands an intensive practice and patience. Before beginning the actual freestyle swimming, it is better to practice the rhythm of hand strokes along with intermediate breathing at the edge of the pool. Stretch both hands in front and come to floating condition, such that the inner side of the arms are in contact with ears. Let the fingers just touch the edge of the pool. Start paddling the legs and now, start plowing water with right hand. As soon as it crosses 45 degrees inside the water, pull it near the chest, flip it inside out such that the palm is perpendicular to the water surface and start exiting the hand from the side of the trunk and place the right hand again in its original stretched position. As soon as right hand gets back in position, left hand shall follow the same directions on its side. Breathing can be accommodated in between the strokes of hands, i.e., after every two strokes, three strokes or four strokes, depending upon one’s lung capacity. I prefer breathing in every third stroke, i.e., right hand stroke, left hand stroke, right hand stroke + breathe on left side. Practice with counting to master the rhythm. Keep in mind to continue paddling the legs without stopping at any moment for keeping floating. For breathing, the head should be tilted to either direction depending upon the rhythmic cycle count, as close to the water surface as possible, such that exact half portion of the head remains submerged in the water. Once, our mind gets acquainted with the rhythm, we can start freestyle in shallow water.
- One key point in swimming is to keep our body as loose and flexible as possible. Any hint of stiffness of muscles will immediately tend to sink the body. So, its better to feel comfortable, lighter and relaxed in water from the beginning.
- Unless practically experienced, the above instructions might seem unworthy but now what I am disclosing is something worthy to vouch for. Back floating which looks very glamorous and relaxing, is actually something which needs the least or almost nil practice. I also could not believe at first, but its true. Our body naturally floats on water surface. What’s required is just to maintain the head position leveled on water surface. However, as said above, as soon as, we will raise the head above water surface, the weight of head will tend to sink the lower body. First practice back floating by holding the railing with your feet. Once, comfortable with the position leave the railing and start floating freely like a leaf. Sounds incredible, no ? Actually, it is very soothing and relaxing to do back floating because, we are free to breathe without restriction of any breathing rhythm.
- Some refinement tips :
- The fingers during plowing should be maintained nearly half cm apart instead of no gap between fingers so as to reduce the resistance and thus, to reduce effort while swimming.
- During every reach of hand in front, shoulders should also be moved ahead as much as possible to extend the reach and thus, the distance covered during swimming.
- It is preferable to hold the breath for as long as possible before exhaling inside the water. The next breathe should be taken when still 10% of CO2 is yet to be exhaled.
Whatever I had in my mind about swimming I have tried to serve to my best. Hope to have sparked a hint of curiosity in the minds of my readers to nestle this new hobby; even if not, please do feel the water every time you bath, lol !!
I can feel her everywhere,
She is the divine and mighty truth,
She is the powerful, yet gentle forth,
She lets me play trick without her wink,
Her compassion and mercy never shrink,
Water is the wisdom, water is the memory,
Water is the life and an amenity to survive.
A happy swimmer forever !!