May was Water Safety month. Water quenches thirst, grows food and cleans our world. It also nourishes the soul as source of relaxation and joy. But water can be fearful too. Whether a boating excursion, a dip in the pool with friends, or a family trip to the lake or ocean, the difference between joy and fear around water is often just one thing – the ability to swim.
When you give someone the gift of learning-to-swim, you are giving them a lifetime gift, one that is really 4 health and wellness gifts rolled into one.
Gift # 1: Water Safety
o The most important reason anyone should learn to swim is SAFETY. Swimming is a vital life skill. It’s something that will be retained for an entire life with the potential to be a true life-saver. Baseball, soccer, gymnastics, karate are all great sports. However, if someone falls off a pool deck, dock, or boat, their pitching arm isn’t going to get them to safety.
Gift # 2: Self Confidence
o Swimming is a difficult skill to master with built-in fears—ask any adult learning to swim. Every child is different and all swimmers progress at different rates. Because it is so personal, progress is entirely the result of instructor attention, learning skills in the right progression, building endurance, and individual effort. With progress comes the satisfaction and joy of personal accomplishment. And, as confidence builds, fear subsides.
o Younger children are little sponges absorbing knowledge and developing their fine motor skills every day. Eventually “muscle-memory” comes into play, and they are swimming across the pool instinctively. Swimming independently is another confidence builder.
Gift # 3: Lifelong Fun in and around water
o Swimming is a great form of physical activity that actively involves body and mind while having fun. It is also a social activity that naturally allows people to connect and interact with others in water-based activities.
o As children grow and into teenagers and adults, water-based opportunities expand. Knowing how to swim, and being confident in and around water, means they can partake in these opportunities instead of shunning them throughout their life.
Gift # 4: Health and Wellness Exercise Options
o Swimming is a heart-healthy activity and great for strengthening lung ability. The longer people spend in the water swimming, the more their heart is working and the greater lung capacity they will have. This is especially true for kids who swim laps. Many people with asthma are very successful swimmers. Swimming and building lung capacity increase their resistance to asthma.
o Swimming is a non-impact workout choice that supplies both cardio and resistance training. It’s a one-of-a-kind workout! It is fantastic for toning shoulders, arms, backs, and abs. For those who can no longer do high-impact exercises, swimming is a great way to continue physical fitness activities.
Swimming is truly a life skill gift yielding benefits for a lifetime of adventure and joy in and around water.