Concerned that your child is not getting enough outdoor exercise? Swimming is the perfect answer. Beat the heat and the flab!
By Pooja Arora
Given the sedentary lifestyle and widespread fascination with gadgets of modern-day children, parents often worry about how to ensure that the youngsters spend sufficient time outdoors. They find that without enough physical exercise, their children are falling short on stamina and body flexibility and lacking in good posture. For all these concerns, swimming - with all adequate safety measures in place of course - is the perfect answer.
Swimming allows children to be naturally adventurous and have fun. Research suggests that both children and adults tend to exercise for longer periods of time while swimming than while pursuing most other types of exercise. Introducing your children to swimming is a great way to establish the importance of a healthy lifestyle.
Swimming is proven to be an effective workout for both mind and body. It is a great exercise regimen for the joints, offering around 20%-30% more mobility than many playground sports. At the same time, despite being a challenging workout, swimming as a physical exercise is the least harsh on joints and connecting tissues.
Swimming is not as strenuous on the body as any other sport or workout. It boosts cardiovascular capacity while increasing muscle strength, offering a good alternative to higher-impact activities like basketball, running, and weightlifting. The human body is 90% buoyant when in water up to the neck and this makes swimming a perfect low-impact yet high-energy workout for children.
Further, the natural buoyancy of the water and its effect on the human body is more calming than many other forms of exercise. And the fact that the activity releases endorphins is a bonus. Endorphins, famously known as the happy hormones or the feel good chemicals, lift our spirits and leave us refreshed.
Knowing how to swim ensures that a child has the ability to cope with an accidental fall into a water body. It is also a life-saving skill that once learnt, can never be forgotten.
Parents of picky eaters will love the fact that a session in the pool boosts appetite. On the other hand, it helps prevent childhood obesity, which is increasingly becoming a health problem, and this in turn can help prevent / control juvenile diabetes.
Swimming also offers a goal-oriented approach and fosters a healthy competitive spirit. Once a child becomes comfortable in the water, he will become keen on setting targets for himself and bettering his own timings. This process will go a long way in the making of self-motivated and high-performing adults.
Added to these advantages is the fact that swimming is a perfect way to stay cool, engaged and active. In the process, your child will get to develop confidence in the water, perfect his strokes and maybe even enter the competitive league.
Apart from mastering the various strokes in swimming, there are water games that add to the fun and make the pool a great place for group activity and workouts.
Whether it is a private swimming pool or a public facility, ensuring safety while swimming is of utmost importance. Swimming caps, water goggles, swimwear and other swimming accessories not only add zing to pool time, they also contribute to your little one’s safety.
And finally, swimming is a great way for you parents to beat the heat too, and simultaneously bond with your child. So make the most of this summer and gift your children and yourself some quality time for fun and games in the water!
The author is a Speedo expert.
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