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Swimming underwater is a challenge for many people who are afraid of getting water in the nose, or who find that it irritates the eyes. Once one gets the hang of it, however, it is generally much easier to swim underwater, and much greater speeds can be attained by swimming underwater. Swimming is also an excellent exercise for the whole body, and can help with weight loss as well as overall fitness. In order to master underwater swimming, it will take practice, and it will be necessary to get comfortable putting the face underwater.
One of the best tips for swimming underwater is to get comfortable swimming with the face in the water. This means swimming primarily facedown, and turning the face from side to side in order to breathe. This takes practice, and many people find that wearing a small pair of goggles helps them get used to this process. It will then be necessary to go completely underwater.
Practicing holding the breath is another way to practice swimming underwater. Even without pushing off and trying to move through the water, simply taking a few deep breaths and then dipping below the surface of the water can be a way to get used to holding the breath underwater. Slowly expel the air through the nose to prevent water from going into the nose.
Once one has mastered holding the breath underwater, swimming underwater is the next logical step. It is best to take a deep breath and then go under, pushing off from the side of the pool with the arms out in front; this will allow one to travel the greatest distance forward. A breaststroke kick is often very effective for swimming quickly underwater, but one can practice different swimming strokes and kicks to find which one is preferred.
Initially, it is important to just relax and get used to the feeling of underwater swimming. After one gets stronger and develops better lung capacity and endurance, timing oneself, and measuring the distance swum, is one way to track improvement. Always be safe when practicing any type of swimming, and stay in the shallow end or make sure a lifeguard is on duty if nervous. In addition, swimming, like any other aerobic activity, causes the body to sweat, so be sure to stay hydrated and to do some simple stretches after exiting the pool to prevent the muscles from becoming tight.
@KoiwiGal - The best thing you can do to improve your lungs is simple cardio exercises. That will give you stronger lungs and improved oxygen flow, making it easier to hold your breath, especially if you are swimming underwater.
I also knew a kid who used to practice holding his breath all the time in order to get better at it. He could stay under for ages.
But I really think the cardio exercises are important when learning how to swim underwater. Unless you are just sitting there, you are probably swimming lengths, so the better you are at exercising, the better off you'll be.
If you want to learn how to hold your breath for swimming longer under water, you should take a leaf out of an asthmatic's book.
My father once trained a group of swimmers and he told me a little old lady who had to do lung exercises for her asthma was always able to stay under the longest. Even though she was matched against young men and women.
I've never actually looked it up, but I suspect a lot of it involves holding your breath and blowing it out your nose strongly and so forth to make your lungs stronger.
Of course, you should never try to hold your breath too long. If it becomes a strain, let it out!
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