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Why Can T Some People Float

by Lyndon Langley
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Why Can T Some People Float

Why Can T Some People Float

Many years ago, when I was just starting out as a personal trainer, my clientele consisted of mostly women who were interested in losing weight through dieting and exercise. As the owner of a gym specializing in female fitness, this made for a lot of fun work! However, there is one particular area of training that has always been challenging to me – teaching clients how to swim.
I think it’s because swimming requires more coordination than any other type of physical activity. And while most people have learned to walk or ride a bicycle at some point, few know how to swim. It’s not enough to kick your feet in the right direction; you need to coordinate all of your parts – including breathing, arm movements, leg movements, etc. – into a single fluid motion. If you’ve ever tried learning how to do something new like play tennis or ride a bike, then you probably understand how difficult coordinating multiple moves can be. Swimming is similar but even more complex due to its combination of swimming strokes (freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke), different body positions (prone position, side-lying position), and varying degrees of buoyancy. All of these factors contribute to making swimming such a challenge.
But perhaps the biggest obstacle is that many people simply don’t feel comfortable being underwater. They either fear getting their hair wet or they’re afraid of what might happen if their head goes under water. For example, a woman once came up to me after seeing me on TV and asked why she couldn’t float in the pool. She said that her husband had taken her for a trial swim recently and she’d felt very uncomfortable. The woman explained that although she enjoyed doing yoga poses in the air, she hated feeling vulnerable in the water. In addition, she didn’t want her head going under the surface and choking. So she wasn’t sure whether she could handle the added pressure of having so much of herself submerged below the water line.
It may sound silly, but I remember thinking about this question a lot before giving the woman a demonstration. I wanted to help her see that she wouldn’t actually be hurting anything by trying. But first I needed to determine exactly what part of her body she feared would go under. After consulting with her, we concluded that one of her greatest fears was a panic attack. Her heart rate tends to increase when she feels anxious and she worries that the extra oxygen demands from swimming will cause her chest to tighten up. We decided that a good way to get over this fear would be to practice using the “panic response” technique that I teach everyone who wants to learn how to breathe properly during workouts. This technique allows you to control your breathing while still allowing your lungs to fill with fresh air without causing them to expand too quickly.
Once we determined where her problem areas lay, I suggested that she take a couple of lessons with a lifeguard. Lifeguards are trained to assist swimmers who are struggling to stay afloat. When I worked as a lifeguard, I often saw panicked faces looking up at me from below the water line. These folks weren’t necessarily drowning, but they did look terrified and confused. Their bodies were tense and rigid because they felt trapped in shallow waters instead of free to move around like they should be. Once I brought them safely onto land, I noticed that their minds relaxed considerably. They realized that they were no longer in danger and they got to continue moving freely without worrying about staying afloat.
After practicing the techniques that I described above, the woman began taking swimming classes at our local YMCA. Several weeks later, she called me excitedly to report that she now felt completely secure in the water. At last, she felt confident about her ability to float face down. She told me that she knew she could handle the increased pressure of being fully immersed within the water.
So what happened? How did the woman suddenly become more comfortable with being in the water? Well, it turns out that most people can float face down if they try hard enough. What changed her mind? First off, she discovered that she really liked the feeling of being able to keep her eyes open underwater. Second, she found that she liked watching her arms and legs flutter naturally in the water. Third, the experience gave her a sense of freedom and confidence that she hadn’t experienced since childhood. Finally, the process helped her to relax and enjoy herself more. She reported that she loved the coolness of the water and the peace and quiet that surrounded her.
Although the woman ended up loving the coolness of the water and the peacefulness of swimming face down, many people find that they dislike the sensation of being unable to see what’s happening above the water line. You’ll often hear people complain about feeling claustrophobic when they’re submerged beneath the waves.
This doesn’t mean that people who love diving or snorkeling shouldn’t participate in activities that involve being underwater. Instead, they should choose less dangerous forms of aquatic sports. One form of sport that offers great visual opportunities is fishing. There are also several types of water aerobics that include various jumping and kicking motions. With these activities, you won’t have to worry about breathing problems occurring. Another option is scuba diving, which involves wearing heavy equipment designed specifically to allow you to remain comfortably underwater for extended periods of time.
For those of us who aren’t comfortable being submerged beneath the water, it makes sense that we avoid swimming pools altogether. Luckily, there are options available for enjoying the benefits of swimming without risking our necks. Many public pools offer lap lanes that provide a safe place to lie flat on our backs in the shallow end of the pool. Other places offer lazy rivers where you can float along on your belly. Still others have simulated hot tubs that enable you to soak in warm water while remaining partially upright.
If you decide to give swimming another chance, make sure to follow proper safety guidelines. Always wear a life jacket whenever you go swimming. Also, consider hiring a professional instructor to show you basic strokes and demonstrate ways to improve your performance. By following these tips, you’ll be able to enjoy the healthful benefits of water movement without putting yourself at unnecessary risk.

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