Annelize Bester holds a M.Sc Sport Science, she is also a Professional Swim Instructor, specializing in teaching young children to swim. In this article she explores the importance of swimming.
Swimming is a lifesaving skill! Drowning is listed as the third-highest cause of accidental death in children under the age of five. For every child that dies from drowning, five suffer from permanent brain damage due to near-drowning. It is therefore at utmost important that you ALWAYS AND AT ALL TIMES keep an eye on your child around water and remember that children can drown in the bath and even in a bucket of water.
Regardless of the fact that learning to swim is a lifesaving skill, and can prevent drowning, the advantages of swimming are endless.
Swimming is an activity which develops all the muscles in your body and gives you a full body workout. You can practise it for the rest of your life as it is a low impact exercise which puts less strain on joints, but you still get an excellent workout as you work against the resistance of the water. Working against the resistance of water develops great muscle strength.
Swimming is also a great cardiovascular exercise which means it will strengthen your heart and lungs. It will also help you to maintain a healthy weight. These benefits will mean that in the long run you are less prone to chronic diseases like diabetes, asthma and heart disease. Swimming is great for kids with asthma as it strengthens the lungs and the moist air especially in indoor swimming, helps with breathing.
Swimming improves balance, coordination, flexibility and develops the brain as your body has to perform a variety of movements and different body parts must perform different movement patterns. Swimming is also a sport that develops your body on both sides which differs from many other sports where you might find asymmetrical development.
A lot of research has shown that swimming improves mental and emotional health. According to the National Centre for Injury Prevention and Control it can improve your mood and decrease anxiety.
Swimming improves self confidence and self-reliance. It is also much more socially accepted if you can swim and you can enjoy time with friends and family in water. Enjoying and being comfortable in water opens a lot of other water sport possibilities and opportunities.
A few important notes to conclude: Make sure your child can’t access the pool or any other water sources! Get youself and your child swimming! Always keep an eye on your child around water and learn basic first aid and CPR (Cardiopulmonary resuscitation)!