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Many people incorporate swimming into their regular workout routines because this type of exercise has many benefits. There are several styles of swimming techniques, with the breaststroke, butterfly and backstroke considered to be more difficult techniques. Nonprofessional swimmers who begin fitness swimming typically choose from a wide variety of freestyle techniques, such as the crawl stroke, sidestroke and doggy paddle. Each freestyle swimming technique has its own benefits, depending on how and where it will be used. Consider where you’ll be swimming and your overall swimming goal when choosing the best freestyle for you.
If you are on a swim team or beginning a swim workout, consider using the crawl stroke as your main freestyle swimming technique. It also is called the front crawl or front stroke, and it is the fastest freestyle swimming technique. You swim the crawl stroke with your head face-down in the water, only turning your head to the side when you need a breath of air. You rotate your arms in forward windmill-like moves while your legs stay extended, making fast kicking movements. This is the most technical freestyle swimming technique and is best done in a lap pool, where you can use the lane markings to stay in a straight line.
The sidestroke is another popular freestyle swimming technique that allows you to move while saving energy. This type of swimming is ideal in the ocean or in conjunction with the crawl stroke when you have to swim long distances. It is easy on the joints, can be done on either side and utilizes a quick arm and leg movement together. It allows you to glide for a moment, using the momentum of your movement. Emergency rescue experts suggest that you use this type of freestyle swimming technique when trying to get out of a strong river or ocean current.
Beginner swimmers typically learn the doggy paddle freestyle technique first. This typically is the easiest stroke, and it allows you to keep your head and face out of the water at all times. This is a good freestyle technique if you don’t yet know how to alternate breathing and keeping your head in the water, or if you have a fear of water. Learning this style will allow you to gain confidence and feel more comfortable in the water, and you can learn more advanced techniques later.
Swimming is a good cardiovascular workout, promotes weight loss, builds endurance and strengthens muscles. Always check with your doctor before beginning any swim program. Stretch your muscles and warm up before starting to swim, and take resting breaks when needed.