This morning I went swimming. I normally try to swim about three times a week.
I like swimming.
Normally I start off with ten leisurely lengths of front crawl. It’s better to warm up with crawl than with any other stroke. I take a breath on every third stroke which means that your head rises out of the water on both sides throughout the swim. This is good for a balanced, even swimming motion.
Then I do ten lengths of breast stroke. I was a bit wary of it for a while after developing a back problem. Too much breast stroke can exacerbate back problems. But since my back has improved I can swim breast stroke with less worry. And you don’t need to be worried while swimming. Swimming is ideal for easing worries. The thing I love about breast stroke is the continuous flow of movement between arms and legs. First the arms pull and then the legs push and so on. Sometimes it’s nice to do it really slowly just to observe and anlayse your movements and feel the water rushing over your body.
I don’t often do a lot of full backstroke, but I separate the stroke up. As my legs are not the most developed part of my body (I can hardly run any distance) I do four lengths back stroke legs only. This really tones up the thigh and lower back muscles – if you do it properly. You mustn’t let your knees break the surfacfe of the water when swimming backstroke. The legs should move from the hip and the the ankles should be flexing freely.
Then I will usually do four lengths backstroke arms only which is really easy for me as an upper-body-type person and then two lengths full back stroke. The thing about backstroke arm movements is that you have to graze the sides of your ears as you plunge the arms in to the water and then bend the arm under water to push the water away along your sides.
Sometimes, if I am feeling energetic and have had a good night’s sleep, and if the pool isn’t too crowded so I don’t feel too much of a show-off, I will do a couple of lengths butterfly. Now this stroke is simply my favourite, especially as it is the one that most makes you feel like a fish. It is a shame it is so exhausting otherwise I would be doing it all the time. Your body pumps backwards and forwards in what might be considered a slightly pornographic movement, with the feet htting the water together giving you forward propulsion. Then the arms windmill on both sides simultaneously giving you extra thrust. On every second arm stroke you come flying out of the water for a gasp of air and then continue. You can regulate butterfly to suit your own fitness and can even do it quite slowly, enjoying the movements of the limbs and the timing of the stroke.
And then, the whole process repeats itself over a period of 45 – 60 minutes and I go home feeling that every muscle has been put back in place and that nothing else matters in the world.
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