Tuesday, August 26, 2008

What is a Swimming Stroke?

A swimming stroke is a method of moving the arms and legs to push against the water and propel the swimmer forward. There are a few ways of doing this which I have listed below.

Crawl or "freestyle"

This is the most popular stroke and the easiest for beginners to learn. It is a simple flutter kick and windmill arm motion.


This is a difficult stroke and not one to choose if you're just learning how to swim. The basics are that your arms pull, you breathe, you kick (arms alternate with the kick), and you glide. Breaststroke is swum while leaning on the chest, with the arms only breaking the surface of the water slightly and legs always underwater, while the head is underwater for the second half of the stroke. The body is often at a steep angle to the forward movement. This slows down the swimmer more than any other style.


This is also a difficult stroke and not recommended for beginners because it requires perfect timing and a good deal of strength. It is swum on the breast, with both arms moving simultaneously. The legs move together in a dolphin kick. Many students consider this to be the most difficult style of all.

Backstroke or "back crawl"

This style has the advantage of easy breathing, but the disadvantage of not seeing where the swimmer is heading to. It is easier than the butterfly or breaststroke. In the initial position, the swimmer lies flat on their back, arms stretched forward, and legs extended backwards with the arms contributing to most of the forward movement.

Dog Paddle

This is one of the most simple swimming strokes. The swimmer lies on his chest and moves his hands and legs alternately in a manner reminiscent of how dogs and other animals swim.
Swimming strokes should create the least possible water resistance. When swimming, there should be a minimum of splashing so that forward motion is smooth.

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Saturday, August 16, 2008

Precautions to Take When Teaching Kids to Swim in a Pool

Having a swimming pool installed on your property can bring your family many hours of enjoyment. There are however, responsibilities that come with owning a swimming pool, particularly if you are teaching your children to swim. When it comes to children, you can never be too safe.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, you should have fences around your pool that are at least four feet high with no foot or handrails. The slats on your fences should be less than four inches apart. This is so that children can not get through them. You should also have a self-closing gate that is also self-latching installed and the latch should be completely out of the reach of children.

When teaching children to swim there are other precautions that you should also meet. Be sure to teach your children that running or pushing around the pool is dangerous and never allow them to dive in areas that are not deep enough or marked for diving.

When the weather turns bad, particularly if lightening is involved, then they should know to instantly vacate the swimming pool. Keep in mind also that children should never be allowed to swim un-chaperoned. Just because your child may know how to swim is no reason to ever leave them in the water unsupervised. Be sure that an adult is present with children at all times while they are in the water.

Remember that seconds count when it comes to emergencies in the water. Be sure to always have a cordless phone or a mobile phone with you when your child is swimming. Have the emergency number or 911 on speed-dial for emergencies to save additional time if and when an emergency situation does arise.

If you happen to receive a phone call while your children are swimming be sure not to take your eyes off of them and end the call as soon as possible.

Safety equipment has proven to be highly effective in reducing the number of drowning where children are concerned. Pool covers and alarms should be installed and used at all times while you are not in the pool.

Once you have taken all the necessary precautionary measures, you should consider learning CPR and make sure that you have emergency flotation devices in good shape and close at hand when your children are swimming. Emergency telephone numbers should be posted on all telephones.

After your children have finished swimming for the day, be sure to put away all pool toys and flotation devices to keep children from trying to retrieve them and possibly falling in.

The most important precaution that you can take when you are teaching kids to swim is to supervise them at all times. Even if you are at a barbeque or party, make sure that at least one adult is left in charge of watching all children in the swimming pool. You should never assume that just because your child has a flotation device that he or she will be safe. The only true way to ensure your child's safety while swimming is to keep an eye on him or her. Be sure to always talk with your children about water safety even when they are not in the pool.

Teaching water safety at a young age is an excellent way to avoid potential accidents.

Teaching your children to swim can be a very exciting and frightening experience. Just ensure that you have followed all safety precautions and that your children know that they are only allowed to be in the pool when an adult is present. Safety precautions allow you to enjoy your swimming pool without the worries of emergencies happening.

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Benefits of Swimming

Many of us can remember when we were younger and we could spend hours upon hours swimming in the pool without feeling an ounce of muscle pain the next day. This is because being submerged in the water has a great way of cushioning our joints and protecting our bones. Aside from helping us beat the heat, swimming is a great form of exercise.

Since water adds twelve times more resistance than air, it helps us build muscle and strength faster. When we swim, we work all of the major muscles groups, including: shoulders, back, abdominal, legs, hips, and gluts. All of these muscles are working twelve times harder than if we were on land. This aids in producing exceptional muscle definition.

Many people assume that water exercise is way too strenuous because of all of the added pressure; however, the truth is that swimming is one the most cushioned and safe forms of physical fitness. Water fitness is especially beneficial to those who find other forms of exercise painful.

For instance, many people who suffer from arthritis commit themselves to this type of workout because it is a low impact type of exercise. Since people with arthritis suffer from stiff joints, swimming in a pool eliminates the possibility of injury. When on land, the impact of the exercise is much more intense on stiff joints. Nonetheless, if you are still skeptical about the safety of water fitness, perhaps knowing that athletes use water to rehabilitate after an injury may change your mind.

So how can you get started? Well, the easiest way to get started is to either hire a swim coach or join a local gym which offers swimming classes. Ten minutes of swimming is perfect if you are just starting out. From there you should try to build up to thirty minutes. Also remember to warm up before your session and to cool down after your session. Try to schedule your regimen anywhere from three to five times a week in order for it to be effective.

Swimming is truly a great way to achieve a healthy and fit lifestyle without all of the muscle aches.
Lauren S. Johnson writes health articles about fitness and nutrition. Some of her favorite passions include studying the medicinal benefits of herbal remedies, diet pills, and hoodia gordonii.