- Field Skills
Swimming can be very demanding for the beginner. Exercise at a comfortable pace and periodically check your heart rate to make sure you're staying in your training range. We recommend that beginners swim 12-20 minutes, building endurance with time.
As you progress, you'll be able to swim farther and faster at each workout, and the efficiency of your strokes will improve. Intermediate swimmers should swim 20-30 minutes and advanced swimmers 30-60 minutes. The freestyle, or crawl, is the most efficient and strenuous stroke. A 150-pound person burns about 8.5 calories a minute swimming freestyle.
If you tire, switch to a less strenuous stroke, such as the sidestroke or breaststroke, or swim a few laps with a kickboard. Swimming in sets– four laps freestyle, four laps breaststroke, four laps backstroke, for example– will make your workout more interesting and will exercise more muscles.
- Kick with a kickboard or holding on to the side of the pool to tone legs, buttocks and stomach. Do flutter kicks as well as frog kicks.
- Do leg lifts to condition legs, buttocks and stomach. Holding on to the side of the pool, lift each leg 10 times in front of you, behind you and to each side.
- Run in the water to increase your heart rate. Many people who can't run on land can run in the water without a problem. Because of the water's resistance, the impact on your body is far less. In chest-high water, begin by running with your hands on your head, and as you become more fit, paddle with your arms.
- Bob up and down in the water to improve breathing and muscle tone.
- Tread water to improve arm and leg strength.
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