In celebration of the arrival of summer, we are kicking off a three-part exercise series with tips about improving your swim stroke.
As the temperature warms up in the Cayman Islands, a refreshing dip in the ocean or pool is a welcome respite from the heat. Why not improve your fitness at the same time?
Swimming is one of the best exercises you can perform for overall physical fitness as it works all the major muscle groups, builds stamina and reduces weight by working the cardiovascular system. It’s also an effective workout for all ages and abilities as it’s low impact and doesn’t put a lot of weight on the joints.
This summer Caleb Miller, head swim coach at the Camana Bay Aquatic Club, explains three foundational exercises that will help you improve your swimming stroke.
This month, Caleb focuses on the importance of achieving proper posture of the head, neck and spine — which connects everything in the body — throughout your stroke. Typically, people swim with their heads elevated in the water because human instinct is to get air, but it’s quite difficult to stay horizontal while having the head elevated. Holding a strong posture is also important because having an elevated head creates pressure on the lower back, hips and feet, causing the body to sink. If the head is elevated even slightly, it negatively impacts the body position in the water.
Follow Calebs’s guided steps to try this move in the pool or in the sea.
Come to a horizontal position in the water. Kick your legs directly behind you with your arms held out directly in front of you. Hold your spine as tall and straight as possible so the head, neck and spine enter and remain in proper alignment. Keep your eyes looking straight down so the head is cut in half by the water line with no wrinkles in the neck. Breathe out and propel forward and feel what it’s like to move through the water with your body in a straight and proper posture. Repeat this movement for a few lengths of the pool and gradually move in to your swim stroke, implementing the posture you have been practising.
When you lift your head, everything comes of out alignment. As you perform this exercise, lift and lower your head to really feel how critical the posture is to your swim stroke.