Successful swimmers, both historically and in the present, often excel academically. But is it that the sport attracts intelligent individuals, or does swimming itself cultivate high achievers? Let’s explore the reasons why swimmers tend to be high achievers with commendable grades.
1. Enhanced Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF):
Swimming doesn’t just exercise the body; it stimulates brain health too. Physical activities like swimming trigger an increase in Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), a protein supporting brain cell growth and repair. Research connects higher levels of BDNF to an expanded hippocampus, crucial for memory—a vital contributor to academic and workplace success.
2. Supports Cognitive Function:
In addition, immersing in water boosts blood flow, improving mood and enhancing cognitive functions such as focus and concentration. Studies from Griffith University show that regular swimming in young children correlates with above-average cognitive skills, better problem-solving abilities in mathematics and languages, and improvements in memory and thinking skills.
3. Fosters Time Management:
Competitive swimmers develop the time management skills from the early days. Frequent training sessions, long days spent over the weekend at swimming galas mean they must be diligent about allocating time for homework and revision. They utilise limited out-of-pool time efficiently and tend to get their work done without getting distracted. In essence, whether getting to their swimming training on time or finishing their school project, they are used to meeting their ‘deadlines’.
4. Promotes Accountability:
Swimming is predominantly an individual sport. Swimmers spend most of their time underwater, minimizing social interaction during training. Success in swimming largely relies on individual effort, making swimmers more self-motivated and accountable for their actions, both in and out of the pool. This sense of responsibility becomes an invaluable soft skill for life. Learning to swim transcends the confines of pools and oceans.
The skill set and attitudes acquired through swimming—such as discipline, time management, accountability, and focus—are qualities sought after by universities and corporations in aspiring candidates. Swimming not only shapes great athletes but also molds exceptional individuals ready to take on life’s challenges.
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