|Solo Sports: Swimming
You're soaking wet and in a horizontal position. You kick your arms and legs to keep moving, and you keep turning your head to breathe.
Swimming is a competitive sport played around the world and on many different levels, including the Olympics. It's also an easy sport to do by yourself, for fun and for exercise. You can swim in a backyard pool, an indoor lap pool, or the waters of an ocean or lake.
Many doctors and athletes agree that swimming is one of the best workouts you can give your body, because it works almost all of your major muscle groups at the same time. Since you're floating in the water and not in contact with any hard surfaces, there's less pressure on your joints and bones. You're a lot less likely to suffer certain kinds of injuries than with other sports.
There are many ways to push yourself and get better as a swimmer. If you're into speed, you can race the clock and see how long it takes you to do a certain number of laps. If you're into endurance, you can slow down and see how many laps you can do before you have to take a rest.
Cool Swimming Facts:
"The best part about swimming is when you beat your time. It doesn't even
matter if you lose the race as long as you tried your best; you can
walk away with a smile on your face. When you're in the water you forget
that people may be watching and all you care about is getting to the other
side of the pool and touching the wall. You can just let go and fly."
"I used to only swim in the summer when it was hot out, but now I go to the health club and swim every week, even in the winter. I'm going to try out for my school's swimming team this year."
"Swimming is more than just playing in my pool. It is good for my heart and keeps me in shape. It is definitely a great exercise for children."
"I've been told swimming is a wimp sport but we don't get time outs and we can't stop and catch our breath. It's tough but fun."
If you don't have a pool at your house or apartment to swim in, there are probably many public pool facilities near you that offer lessons or open swim times. These might include gyms, schools, or YMCA's. For help finding a pool or swim club near you (plus lots of other cool info about this sport), visit www.usaswimming.org. Log on now through the end of September for a chance to win a trip for four to the 2006 Teen Choice Awards, as part of USA Swimming¹s nationwide "We Want You on Our Team" campaign!
If you've grown up around water or pools, you might already know the basics of how to swim safely. If you've never been swimming before, it's never too late to learn.
If you're a beginner, it's a good idea to stay in shallow water and always swim with a buddy or a lifeguard watching. If you feel yourself getting tired, calmly swim to the edge of the water and take a rest. You should drink lots of fluids before swimming, but wait at least an hour after eating before you swim to avoid muscle cramps.