Floating in Swimming
Floating in swimming seems to be the first place one describes their ability in the water. One either can relax, find their body balance and position in the water and float on the surface or they feel like they are just sinking like a rock.
Although body composition plays a big role in one’s position in the water and difficulty learning how to float, all living, breathing human beings can do it!
Finding your position in the water is critical when learning how to swim. The human body is made of 2/3 water, therefore your body’s density is very similar to water with a few exceptions.
To begin, you have air that fills your lungs. The air that keeps us alive and acts as an actual buoy that will help us float. Learning to use our chest in the practice of floating on the water is an important skill that will help in many aspects of swimming.
Also understanding that body composition plays a role in our ability to float. Women naturally have a larger ratio of fat than men. Since fat floats, women tend to have an easier time floating than a very muscular man. That does not mean bodybuilders can’t swim, it just means more mechanics will be at play.
In addition to air and fat, your core muscles play a role in pulling your lower body to the surface. Many swimmers find that they can ‘float’ from their head to about their belly button, then things seem to sink down. For those whose lower half seems to want to sink beneath, a few tricks can help your core engage hold your lower half up.
One classic technique is imagining your belly button attached to a string and this string’s end is attached to the ceiling or sky. Allowing your mind to imagine this connection can help the muscles engage and work together to bring your lower half to the surface.
If you do find your legs sinking, move them in a gentle kicking motion. This will allow you to pull your lower body back to the surface and begin to float again.
Finally the most important tip while attempting to float is relax! When you relax, your breath is full and deep. When your lungs are full of air, your buoyancy increases! If you are struggling to stay afloat, pay attention to your breathing. Take nice big yoga breaths in, paying attention to filling your lungs.
Learning to float can be a game changer in learning how to swim, but it can also be a rejuvenating experience!