GET IN THE SWIM OF THINGS
SWIMMING IS A FANTASTIC WORKOUT FOR ALL THE FAMILY, DEAN ANDREWS EXPLAINS
ONE quarter of adults in the UK can’t swim 25 metres ( YouGov) – that’s one length of a standard size pool.
It’s also the distance children are expected to be able to swim by the time they leave primary school – though the Amateur Swimming Association ( ASA) says one in three children leaves school unable to swim.
Swimming is great exercise; it provides a cardiovascular workout and strength training for your legs, arms and core. As you’re buoyant in the water, there is also no jarring of your joints and it is non- weight bearing, making swimming a perfect exercise for those who are getting older or those with joint problems.
It’s never too late to get into the pool – from eight months to eighty ( and beyond), there are lessons to suit all ages, and abilities of swimmer. Your local swimming pool will have lessons for both adults and children, swimmers and nonswimmers.
If you can already swim, lessons can help you: refine your technique, swim better ( so you don’t injure yourself), get stronger and master different skills, like diving or swimming under water. If you can’t swim, going to a lesson can be a bit daunting. But don’t worry, instructors are trained to support those who can’t or haven’t swum before.
So, what can you expect from your first swimming lessons?
GET IN, THE WATER’S LOVELY
AN instructor will take time introducing you to the water and making sure you feel comfortable just being in the pool. Many pools will start your first lessons in the smaller pool, or the shallow end of the larger pool.
Once you’re in, you will be encouraged to walk around in the shallow end and get used to the feeling of the water and to your body’s buoyancy. When you feel ready, you will be encouraged to walk slowly out to where the water is up to your shoulders. Don’t worry if it takes more than one visit until you feel comfortable in the pool.
USE YOUR HEAD
ONCE you feel comfortable walking and standing in the pool you can progress to getting your face and head wet. Your instructor will help you get used to putting your head under the water, and may ask you to breathe bubbles out in the water too.
ONCE you are comfort- able in the water your instructor will teach you how to float. They will start off by getting you to float on your back at the side of the pool, holding on to the ledge. When you have mastered this, they will get you to practise your kicking while still holding onto the side of the pool. You may start learning to swim using a flotation board.
STROKE OF GENIUS
ONCE you feel confident floating and kicking yourself around the pool, it will be time to master the strokes.
Your instructor will explain them to you and show you how to move your arms and legs. Whether you’re eight, eighteen or eighty, swimming is a great exercise that is really enjoyable and is an important skill to learn – so why not make a splash and learn how to swim?
You can have swimming lessons at any age, from eight months to eighty