Swimming is a vigorous form of exercise because it uses many muscles throughout the body and is low-impact. Not everyone can swim like U.S. Olympic champ Missy Franklin, though. For a little added boost in the water, try implementing special tools to enhance your swimming workout and to help you stay afloat during rest breaks.
Kicking is an essential part of swimming, but it may be a bit trickier than it looks. You can kick hard and splash like crazy -- and still go nowhere. Tools that can help you work on your kick include kickboards and fins, or flippers. Holding onto a kickboard will allow you to just use your legs and core to get you through the water so you can learn to kick more efficiently. Flippers will help you propel yourself more easily.
Pulling Through the Water
Your arms and hands work to pull you through the water in conjunction with the pushing of your legs. Just as you can use a kickboard to isolate the lower part of your body while swimming, you can use a buoy between your knees to work on your arms. Place the buoy between your knees or thighs, and hold it there. It will help your lower body stay afloat while you use your arms to pull yourself through the water. You can also use hand paddles or swim gloves to make your hands into flippers so you catch more water and pull more efficiently.
If you have access to a deep pool or lake, you can jog in the water instead of swimming. A jogger belt fits snugly around your middle and holds you upright in the water. You can then pump your arms and legs as if you were running on land, but without the impact. Now, you may look a little silly, but you can burn a lot of calories and save your joints.
Getting water in your nose, ears and eyes swimming can spoil your water workout. Invest in a pair of goggles to help you see where you are going when you're swimming. Most people don't swim naturally in a straight line without practice and you don't want to get tangled in a lane line. You can also get a nose plug and ear plugs to keep the water out of those orifices.
Bethany Kochan began writing professionally in 2010. She has worked in fitness as a group instructor, personal trainer and fitness specialist since 1998. Kochan graduated in 2000 from Southern Illinois University with a Bachelor of Science in exercise science. She is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Certified Personal Trainer, Medical Exercise Specialist and certified YogaFit instructor.