The aerobic exercise involved in swimming works the whole body. In young people, this helps them develop muscular strength, coordination and stamina. The same is true for adults. It has been shown that regular swimming not only boosts physical health but also brain health. That’s a lot of benefits for having a fun time in the water with your family.
Benefits of Regular Swimming
The list of benefits from regular swimming is quite long and includes improved cognitive function and memory as well as improved mood. Physiological improvements include better immune response, reduced stress response and an increased development of neural brain connections. These results are true for both children and adults, and that’s just the mental aspect of regular swimming. The physical aspects are even greater and more noticeable.
Drowning is a Real Risk for Young Children
Drowning is the leading cause of accidental death for children under four and the second for those between 5–14 years of age. This doesn’t mean that children are only drowning in pools. It could be ditches, neighborhood reservoirs, or any other source of water that they could come into – tubs and buckets are the most common for infants. So, adult supervision that never flags for a moment is the only true safeguard against this terrible accident.
That said, swimming lessons from a young age are known to reduce the risks for children around water to a large degree. This is because swim classes teach respect for water and develop skills that children can use if they find themselves in a body of water. On balance, while “drown-proofing” is not a thing, swimming helps a lot, and the American Academy of Pediatrics says that children can begin learning from as young as one year old (some specialized toddler swim schools have great success even from a couple of months old).
Swimming is the ultimate low-impact workout. Swimming provides a full-body workout without putting stress on the joints as lifting weights or running can do. Once the skills are learned, they remain with the swimmer throughout a lifetime. Even individuals with conditions such as MS find that it gives them the opportunity to work out in the water with ease. For young people, developing these skills early means that they can take them with them wherever they go throughout their lifetime.
Regular swimming produces physical development. Children work muscles and develop coordination. This is true even for babies and toddlers who take part in early swim classes. It can also help with balance. Water safety skills, such as learning to roll and use their arms are legs to paddle, are built into every swim class, even for younger children. This leads to healthy growth and confidence, both in the child and for parents.
Swimming can also improve social skills because it puts children in classes with others performing the same activity. Learning to work with others is an important aspect of character development that they will carry with them throughout their lives. If kids get hooked on swimming as a competitive sport, parents will learn that soccer moms have it easy compared with swim moms, but the life is priceless to see children become fiercely dedicated and self-disciplined with such a beneficial sport.
Swimming develops confidence. As young people develop their swimming skills, they will also have an increased sense of confidence in and around water. They will learn to respect any area of water that they encounter, but they will also be able to better help themselves in the water. This confidence typically transfers onto land activity and other areas of their lives as they tackle other challenges.
Swimming enhances brain development. Children who learn to swim early have been found by the Griffith Institute for Educational Research to develop cognitive skills earlier than their peers. These milestones can include visual motor skills, speech, numeracy, and literacy. Their study also showed that children who started swimming at a young age sleep better, had fewer behavior issues, and improved memory and focus. This appears as the result of the increased blood flow to the brain that swimming creates.
Swimming is a great stress reliever. At any age, young and old alike, regular swimming releases endorphins which in turn can help with health, stress, and anxiety issues. There are many reasons for this. Part of it is the regular breathing rates, lowered blood pressure, and heart rates, but the other part of the puzzle is that swimming is very rhythmic which is soothing overall.
Families in Outdoor Water Situations
When your young swimmer is proficient enough, this can mean trips to the beach or to the lake. Vacations, weekend getaways and Saturday morning adventures expand dramatically when the whole family loves the water. Water fun also means a lot of family bonding time together. At an adequate level of proficiency, children can grow up exploring the natural world of coves and aquatic life, seeing new plants, c oral and brightly colored fish, a true education.
In a day of exploring the water and the natural world, your child will also be soaking up a lot of immunity-building vitamin D from the sunshine. While this contributes to bone development and a healthy immune system, balance this with judicious use of sun-block to prevent burns. And enjoy the after-water glow too, as everyone is dry and super relaxed, ready for a picnic or cook out together to talk about the day.
The benefits of learning to swim, particularly from an early age, are enormous. Swimming reduces childhood obesity and increases overall fitness. You will often find that your child wants to spend more time outdoors and away from the computer screen. Learning to swim is an important life skill that everyone should learn whether they are a child or an adult.