Did you know that regular swimming lessons help to significantly improve your child’s performance in multiple land-based sports? And not just children; swimming can improve performance in sports for people of all ages, including professional athletes, many of whom use swimming training in their exercise programme.
It seems counter-intuitive that a child’s time spent in the pool can benefit their ability in a multitude of sports and activities including:
…but read on and you will see why!
Swimming strengthens lung capacity and cardiovascular health.
Swimming promotes greater lung capacity because of the intervals and frequency in which you can breathe, allowing for aerobic and anaerobic gains to be made. A greater lung capacity is an advantage for land-based sports. Also, swimming trains children to hold their breath longer; better breath control not only helps them last longer under the water; it also sustains them during high-intensity exercises.
Lung capacity is a crucial measure in terms of cardiovascular fitness. Experienced athletes measure their progress by checking their heart rates; after each swim set, they take their pulse and see how quickly they can lower it, another skill children can learn from swimming.
Swimming builds full body strength.
Swimming is not just a cardio-based sport; it also builds up strength and hones full body movements. Each stroke encourages children to achieve a greater range of motion around the shoulders and through their hips and torso. This is helpful for other sports that require rotational motion such as golf, baseball and football.
According to Olympic gold medalist Janet Evans, “Swimming is the ultimate all-in-one fitness package, working most muscles in the body in a variety of ways with every stroke.” She points out that most other sports benefit only certain parts of the body or areas of fitness.
Swimming prevents impact injuries.
The last thing anyone – be it a child or a professional athlete – wants is to injure themselves during training and not be able to participate in their chosen sport. But it’s also important to keep exercising to stay fit. Swimming, being a low impact activity, is the optimal solution.
When you swim or do any exercise in water, you have 12-14% more resistance against you which creates lower impact on joints, preventing sudden body movements. This resistance, combined with the buoyancy afforded by water (90% of your body is buoyant when you’re in water up to your neck) means that the risk of injury is extremely low.
Athletes battling chronic injuries on land may find respite from that pain in the water, and are able to bring greater intensity to their exercise. Swimming helps not only injured athletes, but also healthy athletes looking to prevent injury during a long season.
Swimming builds confidence.
Swimming not only builds fitness and improves endurance, it also builds confidence. Participation in non-competitive activities such as swimming encourages children to be more confident in themselves, their body and their skills; when a child loses confidence in their ability, they may withdraw and want to stay inside to watch TV or play on an iPad. Obviously this doesn’t build healthy patterns. When they see that they do well in swimming, it fosters a positive attitude towards exercise and they are more likely to participate in other sports, rather than avoid them if they are embarrassed about their skill level.
Swimming is also a naturally mindful activity; the physical exertion of swimming signals the body to release endorphins, which give us a sense of wellbeing.
So now you know! With regular swimming lessons, your child will find other sports easier and more fun. And that means they’re more likely to participate in them and keep them up. And that means a happy, fit and fulfilled child!