Learning how to swim is best practiced in water, but you can of course prepare on dry land first. For adults, you might have built up some fear or phobia over the course of your life. This can create a barrier for the learning process, we recommend starting with this list of dry land exercises to best help you on your swimming journey.
Breathing exercises in bath or sink.
Filling the bathtub with water, or sink, and submerging your body and face whilst holding your breathe. If you have swimming goggles, use them, and keep your eyes open. This can recreate the swimming pool environment. Once submerged, start to blow bubbles until you have no breathe left. Then raise your head, and repeat. This is the start of our basic breathing exercises.
Listening exercises with headphones and eyes closed.
YouTube and Soundcloud has many water based sound clips. Many go on for hours, and are free to listen to. If you set up a comfortable spot at home, at a relaxed stage of your day. Put on headphones, preferably ones that cover your ears and block out other sounds. Press play on your device, and lay back with your eyes closed. Now visualise you are at the beach, or walking though the waves. Imagine the water gently trickling down your legs, and splashing off your knees. Feel how nice it is. Feel how safe and relaxing it can be. Enjoy the sounds and the feelings.. Check out these links for audio samples – YouTube and Soundcloud.
Mindfulness exercises with guided practice, focusing on your breathe and heartbeat.
Mindfulness can help you prepare for the water and learning how to swim, submerge and float. Many clients have used this technique with amazing results. It is free, easy to learn and all you need is 10 minutes of quiet time at home. Using your mind to prepare for swimming lessons will speed up the lesson progression, and make you much more comfortable. If you read this article, it will help you learn the basics of mindfulness.
Stretching exercises on the gym floor, encouraging limb mobility and flexibility.
Swimmers stretch everyday – it is essential. When you are learning to swim, begin with stretching as it can make your body more mobile and flexible. Many adults have tension built up, from modern day stress, city living and poor posture at computers. As you begin to stretch on a daily basis, you will notice your posture improving and your muscles will begin to have better blood flow. This page has great illustrations with basic swimming based stretching. Please don’t push too hard, and start gently.
Video preparations, watching swimming videos online and visualising.
There are thousands upon thousands of online videos that can help prepare you for swimming. They range from expert advice, to basic handheld video tutorials. Many people find them beneficial to watch, learn and question what they see. If you start to build a narrative in your mind, related to swimming, it can help you better understand the technical aspects of swimming. I always love when people ask me specific swimming related questions, so feel free to make your own top five list! Here are a couple of great video channels on YouTube that are available to watch.