Swimming is a form of cardiovascular exercise that burns calories for weight control and works muscles for toning and definition. Using the proper equipment for swimming provides safety benefits and maximizes the effectiveness of the workout. Most sporting goods supply stores sell a wide variety of swimming gear, allowing you to choose the pieces that match your specific needs.
It’s obvious that you'll need a swimsuit to swim. However, the right swimsuit fits close to your body and doesn't hinder movement. A suit that is too big may sag and make you uncomfortable, altering how you move in the water. A suit that is too snug may restrict range of motion and make it difficult to get the most out of your swimming session. Try on several swimsuits to find the right fit. Professional swimmers wear competition suits that streamline their stroke and help with speed. If you are a recreational swimmer, choose a suit that is comfortable while you are in the water.
Goggles allow you to see underwater, important in crowded pools or for lap swimming when you need to see turns, walls and barriers. Wearing goggles in the water also protects your eyes from chemicals used to clean the pool. If you wear contact lenses, a pair of goggles helps prevent them from falling out while you're swimming. Goggles are available in a variety of styles and colors. Choose a pair that sits snugly on your face, which prevents water from seeping in.
Most people forgo a swimming cap in the pool, but if you spend a lot of time in the water, the right one is beneficial. A swimming cap keeps long hair out of your face while you swim. It also corrals your hair, helping streamline your silhouette as you swim. Most professional swimmers wear a swim cap for these reasons. However, a cap also protects your hair from harsh chemicals in pool water. A swim cap also helps hold your goggles in place, preventing them from shifting as you move underwater.
Fins, Paddles and Boards
Fins, paddles and boards are not required for competition, but may be beneficial during practice or for recreational swimmers who are looking for a more challenging workout. Fins increase the resistance to your legs while paddling, which enhances the muscular benefits. Boards aid with buoyancy, allowing you to practice new techniques. Paddles work much like fins, but attach to your hands. These tools are often used during professional practice sessions to enhance speed and performance.
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