GET IN THE SWIM OF THINGS

SWIM­MING IS A FAN­TAS­TIC WORK­OUT FOR ALL THE FAM­ILY, DEAN AN­DREWS EX­PLAINS

Solihull News - - FAMILY LIFE - Dean An­drews is a swim­ming coach at Life Leisure, lifeleisure.net

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.

FLOAT AWAY

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

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