Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Getting a Lifeguard Certification

In order to get a job as a lifeguard, you will first have to obtain a lifeguard certification. In fact, there are 3 areas of certifications that everyone needs to have. The first is a Lifeguarding certificate that proves you have passed the basic course. The second is proof of CPR/AED training and the third is first aid training. But first in order to be eligible for a lifeguard certification course, you must be at least 15 years old by the date of the last class.

It is not difficult to find certification classes which are offered through local colleges and aquatic facilities as well as the American Red Cross and the YMCA among many other national organizations. Many courses offer training in first aid and CPR as well so it is possible to get all 3 certificates in only 1 class.

To pass the class, students must complete a physical fitness test to prove that they can meet the demands of lifeguard duties. The tests can vary depending on your instructor or the organization but generally you will be required to swim for 300 yards doing both the front crawl and the breaststroke without stopping to rest. The other part of the test usually requires participants to dive for and retrieve a 10 lb weight at the bottom of the pool.

Before enrolling in a class, you should be aware that there are different certification types which each prepare students for a specific aquatic environment with its own unique challenges. For example, the American Red Cross has 4 different classes. The standard Lifeguarding class is for working at a normal pool. The Waterpark Lifeguarding is needed to work at a waterpark and the Waterfront Lifeguarding course is for water environments like ponds, lakes, and rivers. The easiest of the 4 courses is for the Shallow Water Attendant certification which only qualifies you to work at a pool or body of water 4 feet deep or less.

Many other facilities offer similar classes but if you are dreaming of becoming a beach lifeguard, it is a little harder to find a course that specializes in this area because it is more demanding than the others. You will need to find a school that offers a course specifically in "surf" lifeguarding in order to be qualified to work at a beach.

While the lifeguard certification requirements are pretty standard across all areas of the country, it is helpful to know that there may be some state-specific requirements. To find out if the state you live in might be one with unique requirements, ask someone at the aquatic facility where you are thinking about taking your certification course. They will surely know the requirements and be able to give you more detailed information.

To find more information on the web, visit http://www.lifeguard-certification.net/.

By Michelle L Bowman

Monday, November 21, 2011

Learn to Dive: Start by Perfecting Your Jumps Into the Swimming Pool

It is very impressive watching the springboard and highboard divers at the Olympics throwing themselves off the diving boards, turning 2 or 3 somersaults with several twists and then entering the water in a perfect vertical shape with little or no splash. But everyone has to start somewhere - even Olympic divers - and the initial steps are to perfect your jumps into the swimming pool or diving pool. Perfecting your jumps will help you learn the correct jumping technique and the different body positions used in diving. It will also help you gain the control over your body necessary when you progress to diving. The jumps can be performed off the poolside or off a low diving board of 1m. Indeed, the learner diver may start by learning the jumps off the poolside and then move on to performing them off the diving board. In each case, the diver should enter the water with his hands straight down by his sides, as this is a requirement in diving competitions.

1) Forward Jumps

The first step in learning to dive is to perfect your forward jumps. In each case, stand with your feet together and your toes on the edge of the poolside, but not over the edge. Remember to always point your toes in any jump. The different forward jumps that should be learnt are as follows:

(a) Straight jump forwards

Start with your hands down by your sides. As you jump, bring your arms up in front of you until they are above your head. Keep your arms straight as you do it. Bring your arms back down to your sides by taking them through the side position and not back down in front of you. Try not to lean in any direction as you do the jump, so that you enter the water in a vertical position.

(b) Tuck jump forwards

Start with your hands down by your sides. As you jump, bring your arms up in front of you until they are above your head. Keep your arms straight as you do it. Then, bring your legs up in front of you so your knees are pressing against your stomach and touch your shins with your hands. Once you have performed the tuck shape, kick your legs down and enter the water in a straight position with your hands by your sides.

(c) Pike jump forwards

This is quite a hard jump, with those with gymnastics or ballet training having an advantage. It is easier off a 1m diving board, although may be attempted off the poolside. Start with your hands down by your sides. As you jump, bring your arms up in front of you until they are above your head. Keep your arms straight as you do it. Then, whilst keeping your legs straight, bring your legs up in front of you so that they are as close to 90 degrees to your body as you can manage. Touch your shins with your hands. Once you have performed the pike shape, move your legs down and enter the water in straight position with your hands by your sides.

2) Backwards Jumps

Once you've perfected your forwards jumps, you can move onto backwards jumps. The backward jumps are the same as the forwards jumps but this time stand on your toes on the edge of the springboard or poolside with your heels raised up above your toes over the water. When you jump, make sure you jump backwards a little bit, so that you do not hit the board or the poolside. Again, always point your toes and make sure your arms are by your sides when you enter the water.

Once you have perfected your forwards and backwards jumps, you can move onto learning to dive.

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By David Valle

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Swimming: An Efficient Way to Burn Fat and Remain Healthy

One of the most popular pastimes is to laze around on a swimming pool deck, soaking up the sun. The best way to burn up fat, swimming is the perfect excuse to throw on your swim suit and rush to the beach. For those of you who love the cool water but hate the sun can check out community pools and health clubs. During winters, people tend to retreat into their houses and avoid all forms of physical exercises. Keeping your body fit is important even when the temperatures outside are freezing. If swimming is one of your favorite pass times, there are many fitness clubs that have indoor pools. This way, you can avoid health problems like stiff joints and sore muscles that commonly occur due to the cold.

Health benefits of swimming

Swimming is a great form of exercise and has several advantages. Detoxification of the entire body is one of the major benefits. Many toxic wastes are released through the skin which results in better circulation of blood through out the body. Swimming is one of the best ways to burn away those extra pounds as the rhythmic breathing and movement of the body contribute to reducing fat tissues in target areas such as stomach, upper arms and thighs.

You can also build muscles while swimming and this is a more effective method compared to lifting weights as the gentle water pressure works on all the muscles simultaneously. When you swim, all the muscles in your body get a good workout. Shaping muscles and increasing upper body stamina is one of the several ways to remain fit even during winters. Swimming not only increases your flexibility but also improves your body posture thus reducing back pain and shoulder aches.

Skin texture and health can also be improved by swimming regularly for a couple of hours each day. The chemicals in the water help clean out pores while moisturizing the skin evenly. Blood circulation is improved leaving you with a smooth texture. Swimming is a great way to banish those acne scars and pimple marks. If you do not like using sun screen or any sun blocking lotions during summer, you can opt for a facility with indoor pools.

Pep-up your swimming

There are many types of swimming which have specific benefits for different parts of the body. You can practice different strokes and moves in your own backyard swimming pool under the guidance of a swimming instructor or you can join one of the classes offered at public community swimming pools.

If you want to try an alternative water sport, consider water aerobics or diving. Aerobics is a form of exercise that tightens and tones all your body muscles. Diving is a fun exercise to add to your normal swimming techniques. Many classes are available at gyms and indoor pools where professional trainers provide guidance. If you are new to the sport of swimming, start slow. By doing this, you can build up your stamina and strength slowly and then move on to more vigorous training methods.

By Jennifer Bolduc

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Swimming Teachers Dilemma - Are Fathers Better in the Water Than Mothers?

In many countries, the major caregiver and swimming partner is the mother. However there is a small minority of teachers who advocate that fathers are better in the water with their children than the mothers.

According to Judy Watts (Australia) "Mother's instincts appear stronger however when the roles are reversed, the father, I believe has the same instincts in the water and are more able to respond to their infants with more confidence" Early swimming lessons are an ideal opportunity for fathers to develop a strong natural bond with their babies.

Even though, over the years I have had many parents in the water with their children, I don't think I could classify any one better than the other. There are just too many other factors like water experience,attitude, temperament etc, to make a judgment call. I have also hired both female and male swimming instructors, who have all been "masters of their swimming trade" and again I could not contribute catagorise any major differences as positives or negatives.

Whilst, I do agree with Judy, swimming lessons are ideal opportunities to bond for fathers. I am just happy to have small children in the water learning these life saving skills with a parent, any parent.

So here is a swimming teachers dilemma, there is growing research that fathers do or should play an enormous part in a child's life during the imprint and modeling period of a child life. 0 - 14 yrs. Yet one must ask, in the western society, Dad's are predominantly the major bread winners and have the responsibility of going to work each and every day. So how can we expect them to also be present for swimming lessons each week? Yes, I know some fathers can manage this commitment but only a small percentage.

Should we, as swimming professionals be trying to address that, by perhaps offering more "Weekend or Evening Classes" or before work classes, so fathers can be involved? I personally find Sundays, offer a perfect opportunity for swimming lessons and recreational time in the water for families. At our swimming schools, Sunday was our biggest day.

I also have witnessed, a very successful swim school at the university in Sydney, Australia who offered 5am to 8am swimming sessions for their babies and smaller children's' swimming program. They were hugely successful and inundated with professional couples, who took advantage of swimming sessions for their tots before they went to work.

Perhaps before any of us swimming professionals can "make a judgment, on whether mothers or fathers are the best swimming teachers, we need to offer more opportunities for young family and really just focus on doing what we do best, teaching the parents' safe water practices, and encourage them to spend more quality time in the water with their children, be it swimming lessons or just play swimming. Perhaps then, we aquatic professionals can spend time observing and recording results.

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By K Burley