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Into the cool water!
Into the water and into pure training pleasure: Swimming is the ideal sport for everyone who wants to train their stamina and muscles at the same time – and also want to lose a few pounds. We’ll show you the benefits of swimming and give you training tips.
Swimming is a real all-round sport
During swimming training – whether breaststroke, crawl or backstroke – you use all muscle groups equally. In this way you build up muscles all around and you will be rewarded with a tight and defined body. Of course, the different swimming styles also have different focuses of muscle stress. But they only really have a noticeable effect on competitive athletes.
Swimming is also a very effective form of fitness training: Anyone who has swum really briskly for half an hour knows that swimming has little to do with “going for a bath” – and that it is really exhausting. Compared to jogging, swimming is at least as effective, but much gentler on the joints.
Swimming makes you slim
Do you want to shed a few pounds and keep your desired weight effortlessly? Then get into the water! Swimming is a real slimming tool: You consume a lot of calories – and the muscle mass that is built up over the long term increases the body’s basal metabolic rate, i.e. the calorie consumption when you are resting.
It has even been scientifically proven that swimming training is really an effective fat burner. The study by the Institute for Prevention and Aftercare (IPN) in Cologne has shown that the energy and fat consumption when swimming is just as high as when cycling. An hour of breaststroke swimming consumes 531 kilocalories (kcal) – as much as cycling. And if you manage to scratch for 1 hour, you can burn up to 900 kilocalories.
If you want to lose weight while swimming, the water temperature should be either below or above 78F. Because at 78F the heat exchange between body and water is in equilibrium. Only below or above does the body has to expend energy in order to regulate the body temperature – so you burn additional calories.
Swimming is cheap
In terms of value for money, jogging can only keep up with swimming. Because you don’t need much to experience the advantages of swimming training: swimming trunks or suit, swimming cap, swimming goggles and a 10-ticket for the next swimming pool – you have the perfect equipment for your new favorite sport.
Breaststroke or front crawl?
The time has come: the jump into the water is done. And how does it go on? Should you rather swim breaststroke or do the crawl? Which is healthier? What makes you fitter?
In short: Both swimming styles are healthy and make you fit – as long as you do them correctly and avoid mistakes. The crawl consumes more calories and is the more intensive cardiovascular training. However, this style is not for everyone because the view is severely restricted, which is inconvenient in busy swimming pools. For this reason, the actually very healthy backstroke is difficult to implement – unless you have a private pool.
Learn to swim properly – that’s how it works
Even if most people “can swim” in principle, in order to do it correctly, one often has to learn to swim “correctly” again. Because many have acquired the wrong technique over the years. And that not only affects the speed, but also puts unnecessary stress on the body.
Learn to crawl
When swimming in the crawl, you move your arms and legs alternately to each other. The legs beat up and down with almost straight knees and loose ankles, while you pull your arms vigorously through the water in front of your head after immersion.
IMPORTANT: Put your hands and forearms against the swimming direction for as long as possible!
The arm, shoulder and chest muscles as well as the buttocks and front thigh muscles are particularly challenged when crawling. Thanks to the rotation around the longitudinal axis of the body, you also train mobility and strength of the lateral torso muscles.
You should avoid these mistakes:
– Do not tense your ankles, otherwise you will slow down your propulsion.
– Don’t pull your arms too quickly.
– Don’t breathe in too late, otherwise you will quickly run out of breath.
– Don’t hit the leg too hard from the knee, but from the hip. Otherwise you have hardly any propulsion and a bad water situation.
During the breaststroke, you move your arms and legs synchronously with each other. You open your arms shoulder width apart just below the surface of the water. In the drive phase, the arms are then strongly pressed together on a circular path in front of the chest. You breathe in. The leg kick then comes with a time delay. With your legs hip-width apart, pull your heels towards your buttocks. Then you turn them outwards and swing them backwards in a circular path until they are stretched. The imprint comes from the soles of the feet and the insides of the lower legs. Exhale as you kick your legs in the water.
The arm, shoulder and chest muscles are specially trained during the breaststroke. In addition, the buttocks and the entire leg muscles.
These are the mistakes you should avoid:
– Do not make too broad “frog movements” when kicking your legs. This puts unnecessary strain on the hip and knee joints
– Don’t pull your arms too far back. It costs you propulsion.
– Do not hold your head convulsively above the water, but always dive in when you exhale. Otherwise, you will soon suffer from neck problems and tension in your back.
Extra tip at the end: don’t forget to drink!
Because, as with any sport, you work up a sweat while swimming – even if you don’t notice it. So if you swim intensely for an hour, you should take a break in between and drink water or an apple spritzer. Otherwise, you risk a drop in performance due to the loss of fluids.