If you are just learning how to swim, it is not a necessity to have accessories, but they are helpful. Accessories, or equipment, can help to ease your fears or make you feel more comfortable, according to the American Red Cross’s Swimming and Water Safety Manual. Some basic accessories that are helpful for various reasons are kickboards, pull buoys and flotation belts. All of this equipment can be found at different retailers, and may even be available at the pool in which you are learning to swim.
Kickboards are great to use when learning how to perform kicks for various strokes. You can grasp the sides of the kickboard with your hands to keep your upper body afloat, which allows you to focus on learning the proper form for the kick. Most beginners find it beneficial to perform the arm and leg stroke separately at first so they can focus their attention on learning one part at a time.
Pull buoys are beneficial for a similar reason as that of kickboards. A pull buoy is a piece of equipment that is placed between your legs to keep your lower body afloat. This is beneficial if you are learning a new stroke and need to focus on learning the arm stroke separately from the leg stroke. It can also be beneficial for learning to float. If you are having difficulty keeping your lower body up while floating, the pull buoy will hold your lower body up to help you understand how the proper body position feels.
A flotation belt is great for learning how to tread and for getting comfortable being in the deep end of the pool. It is a device that is secured around your waist to cause you to be more buoyant. Since it is around your waist, your arms and legs are free to learn the motions involved in treading. Of course you will need to be careful when you take the belt off because without the flotation device it will take more effort on your part to stay afloat.
If you are just learning to swim, it is a good idea to choose an instructor that is qualified. Be sure that safety around water is always a priority, and you should never swim alone. Start by learning new skills in the shallow end, and as you feel comfortable you can progress to the deep end. All of the swimming accessories mentioned are great tools for learning how to swim, and help keep you afloat, but they are not life saving devices. Before you begin a new exercise program, consult your physician.
By Jacquelyn Slater