Swimming is a great and enjoyable sport, which proves to be a thrill to many. This is one of most cherished sports, especially among people living around beaches, where this exercise is usually taken as a favorite pastime. Swimming is also done professionally as a sport with a global appreciation. As much as swimming is cherished by many, it is also a widely known dangerous sport that requires extra caution. There are various places you may swim and different styles you may make use of, just ensure that every bit of it is a safe move.
Although a swimming pool environment is a relatively safe environment for competent swimmers, the greatest risks of competitive swimming are a result of the pressures the swimmers put on themselves, by pushing themselves too hard performing the same exercises.
Those swimmers who specialize in the butterfly stroke put themselves at greater risk of developing back and shoulder pain after long periods of intensive training. Breaststroke swimmers are more susceptible to knee and hip pain, whereas freestyle and backstroke swimmers are at risk of developing the familiar and dreaded tendonitis shoulder injury known amongst athletes as ‘swimmer’s shoulder’.
Cross training is when an athlete diversifies their training program by including different sporting disciplines. For instance a swimmer might train for a competition by cycling and running as well as by swimming. This method means the whole body gets a more balanced work out and there is less focus on certain muscle groups, and thereby less risk of injury.
Making sure you are safe all the time you will be out there is inevitable, swimming is one of the most risky exercises that one can take on. There are of course many things professional swimmers and trainers will advise against. Here are some of the obvious things you should watch out for every time you engage in a swimming workout.
Do Not Swim Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol
Even strong swimmers can succumb to the effects of alcohol and drugs while in the water. Being under the influence of either or both seriously impairs judgment and coordination and increases the risk of injury or drowning.
Never Swim Alone
As tempting as it may be to catch some time alone in the backyard pool, deserted lake or ocean, do not do it. Accidents happen even to young, strong, healthy individuals who are good swimmers. Always swim with a buddy in a residential pool and with a lifeguard present in any other pool or body of water.
Do Not Swim During Thunderstorms
Never swim during a thunderstorm. Follow lifeguard instructions for exiting the pool. If swimming in a residential pool, exit the water immediately when you hear thunder. Lightning often strikes water and water conducts electricity. If you swim and lightning strikes, you risk serious injury or death.
Avoid Diving Headfirst
Do not dive headfirst into shallow or murky water, or water of uncertain depth. Diving in shallow water can cause injuries and drowning. Diving into murky water such as ponds, quarries or lakes without knowing the depth or underwater environment is dangerous. Rocks and other objects in the water pose hazards. It is best to enter the water feet first for a moment.
What you eat before you head for a swimming exercise is essential than everything else. This is one aspect that should come at the top of your list, since a mistake here can deal you a fatal life-threatening blow while you are out swimming. Here are a number of things you may consider to stay nourished and safe from breaking down during your swimming practice or competition.
Eat easy-to-digest foods, especially if you are preparing for a swim meet, to avoid needing to use the restroom when you least expect it. Such easy-to-digest foods include steamed vegetables, fruit and greens. Avoid breads and heavy grains, such as brown rice and pasta. Other easy-to-digest foods that will provide your body with enough fuel for swimming are lean proteins, such as fish, lean red meat and low-fat dairy products. These foods are recommended by strength and conditioning specialist Mike Mejia. Mejia writes for USA Swimming, the sport’s governing body in the United States. It takes a long time for your body to digest fiber, so it is best to avoid foods such as whole-grain cereals.
Smoothies are a convenient alternative to solid food that will nourish your body with needed vitamins and minerals before you swim, but which will also be easy on your digestive tract. You can make your smoothies with nut milks, juices or water. Add protein powder and different fruits to give you a mix of carbohydrates and protein.
Even though you will burn fat as you swim, you should avoid eating foods heavy in fats before swimming, Mejia advises, because they will be difficult for your stomach to assimilate and digest and may cause you to experience indigestion. If you have a balanced diet, your body will be able to store glucose. This stored glucose can be used as a source of fuel for swimming, and it can be replenished after swimming.
If you are very hungry and it is almost time for you to swim, you can reach for a protein bar. Protein bars have a balance of carbs, protein, and fats. This nutritional combination helps to fill you up and provides the nutrients you need to fuel your swim, which allows you to focus on swimming instead of your hunger.