As a kid, I loved swimming. Nowadays, I’m still a swimmer, but I’m focused more on the athletic side of things. I wanted to improve my speed and comfort in the water, and I’m getting better at it each and every day by applying these five simple guidelines. Here’s how to grow your own set of fins so that you can feel at home in the water too.
Number One: Increase Hydrodynamics
Just like a fancy race car, your body will move better through the water if it’s sleek and smooth. Cars are specifically designed to cut through air; you can help to tailor your body to cut through water with these adjustments:
- Wear a swim cap: Nothing’s worse than letting long hair (or even short hair!) slow you down.
- Shave your legs – and maybe even your arms: Professional swimmers do this because it reduces their drag in the water. Yes, even men shave! It’s a real thing, and it really is how to best harness your potential. Use our new Body After Shave Spray to prevent skin irritation and razor burns after shaving.
- Buy a suit without frills: Are you still wearing the swimsuit with the skirt attached that you bought in eight grade? Do you hop into the pool in trunks that look like old boxers? If you really want to start moving like a pro, you’re going to need a more professional suit. Invest in something nice. The ideal suit hugs the body and doesn’t have any extra fabric. The less fabric you wear means the faster you can swim.
- Shape your body to be more streamlined: By lengthening your muscles, trimming off extra fat, and toning your arms and legs, you’ll be more equipped to zip through the water.
Number Two: Do Physical Exercise (On Dry Land!) and Eat Healthier
As the final bullet point of the last category said, you can shape your body to be longer, leaner, and effectively more hydrodynamic. Not just that, but there’s another benefit to doing out-of-the-pool physical exercise: While you might think that by going for a swim you’re already getting plenty of physical activity, but that’s not actually enough. One form of physical exercise doesn’t strengthen every aspect of your body, and if you’re not targeting all of your muscle groups, you can’t harness your full potential. Hitting the gym will make you better at swimming. Get into a routine of working your various muscle groups. Throw in some yoga here and there to lengthen your muscles. Do Pilates to increase resistance. Try boxing to work on your timing which will aid in swim strokes.
Eating well is key to exercising. If you’re young, you might think that what you eat doesn’t play a dramatic role in how you feel. However, this is untrue, and if you aren’t paying attention to what you eat, there’s no way you’ll be at the peak of your abilities. Learn about healthy eating guidelines, adjust your diet to what best suits you, and remember that “dieting” isn’t about weight loss: it’s about gaining nutrition.
By getting your body into its tip-top shape before you dive in, you’ll be leagues closer to your goals.
Number Three: Reduce Chafing
No matter how fit and toned you are, there are parts of the body that still rub together when moving. Where there’s friction, there’s chafing. As a swimmer, you probably thought you would escape the chafing nightmare other athletes experience. Nope! Whether you’re in the water or in the gym getting ready to hop in the pool, things will rub, and your skin will hurt. Rule number three for how to harness your full potential is to deal with chafing. If your body hurts, you’re not going to want to push yourself to be your best. Test pjuractive 2skin – the innovation for protection against chafing and blisters. Just apply it to protect delicate areas before swimming. 2skin is water- and sweat resistant.
Number Four: Do Breathing Exercises
“I already know how to breathe,” you’re probably thinking. Well, breathing exercises are a little different than day-to-day breathing. Swimmers are notable for having some of the biggest lungs around, and this isn’t by chance. Having Michael Phelps level breath-holding abilities comes from actively learning how to harness your lungs’ capacity. Spend time working on comfortably holding your breath as long as you can. Go a little longer each time (but don’t make yourself pass out!). By filling your lungs to their capacity and holding it, you slowly but surely stretch them out, which over time increases their capacity.
Swimming requires a great deal of breathing control too, not just lung capacity. By learning how to move with your breath and learning how to time your breath to optimize oxygen intake, you’ll be better at harnessing your breath to your advantage when swimming. Plus, focused breathing decreases stress, and it’s pretty obvious that people who aren’t under as much stress perform better than those who are.
Number Five: Be Mindful in the Water
Connected to the benefit of breathing is the benefit of mindfulness. Mindfulness is a practice used by Zen masters, and it and breathing exercises show up in meditation and yoga. You can harness its benefits in your swimming.
Being mindful means focusing your attention on what happens within your body rather than outside of it. Being “in the moment” will better your abilities because you’ll be more in-tune with what your body is trying to tell you. You’ll react faster and with more strength than if you let your mind drift to other subjects while you swim. As well, by focusing on your breath; on how your limbs are moving; on how the water feels on your skin, you’ll be less likely to get distracted by other swimmers, an audience, or your own fear of failure. By making your swim about the experience and not about goals or competition, you’ll swim better and improve overall.
How do you maximize your swimming potential? Share your tips.