Press-Republican

Lifestyles

November 5, 2013

Instructor promotes benefits of swim lessons

With so many sports to choose from, it can be difficult to decide which of the options available to you will ultimately be best for your child.

Should you enroll your child into a sport that you participated in, so that you can offer them advice along the way?

Or should you enroll them in a sport that you have limited knowledge of so they can experience the sport on their own, with no parental bias or pressure?

While I can’t answer this question for you, I can encourage you to consider a different direction.

Numerous studies have shown that swimming, not only recreationally but also competitively, can help improve children’s health and fitness, cognitive processes and social interactions.

Arguably the most important advantage of teaching children to swim is their safety in and around the water; after all, more than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered in water.

HEALTH BENEFITS

Swimming is one of the few sports that engage almost all of the major muscle groups, especially if all four competitive strokes (front crawl, back crawl, breaststroke and butterfly) are learned.

As a result, avid swimmers can expect numerous benefits that they wouldn’t otherwise see from other land-based sports. These benefits include: toning and strengthening of major muscle groups such as their upper body, lower body, and especially core muscles, greater endurance, improved cardiovascular health and improved metabolism.

Swimming is also unique in that it is completely low impact, meaning that the stress impressed upon joints by an individual’s body weight is significantly reduced.

Additionally, swimming allows children to move in ways they cannot move on land. This helps improve their muscular systems while promoting better coordination and fine tuning motor skills.

Scientifically speaking, swimming stimulates chemicals in the brain, affects neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, and releases stress, reducing hormones and endorphins. This is why many people report feeling much more relaxed and happier after completing a strenuous swim.

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