Did you know that children and adolescents between the ages of 6 and 17 require at least 60 minutes of physical activity daily?
Ensuring your child gets their recommended amount of physical activity is essential for everything from physical to mental health. However, many parents struggle to find the best way to encourage their children to stay active.
Swimming is a fun and social activity that all kids enjoy, and it’s also one of the healthiest physical activities a child can engage in. Come along as we explore the top 4 benefits of swimming for kids and learn why you should enroll them in a swim program today.
What are the swimming benefits for kids?
The Physical Benefits of Swimming
We live a far more sedentary lifestyle than at any other time in human history. Children spend more time than they should be sitting at a desk and in front of a computer or tablet. This lack of physical exercise is a huge concern because it leads to a lack of strength, stamina, and flexibility.
That’s why one of the most common questions we’re asked is, “does swimming improve flexibility, posture, core strength, and lung capacity in kids?” The answer is it does all of that and more!
Thanks to the buoyant property of water, swimming allows children a full range of movement without the unnecessary strain on the body that other sports can cause. Swimming improves posture and flexibility by performing deliberate and repetitive movements while buoyant.
As children progress in their swimming, they’ll learn different strokes and kicks. Using the muscles of the mid back as well as the triceps engages the upper body, while dolphin kicks and flutter kicks engage the abdomen. This is how swimming improves core strength, leading to improvements in posture and better balance and coordination.
One well-known physical benefit of swimming is its effect on cardiovascular and lung health. Swimming improves lung capacity because, as the heart rate climbs during a swimming lesson, your body requires more oxygen, which causes you to breathe harder. Over time, the lungs improve their ability to meet these demands, and this in turn leads to structural changes such as better lung capacity and a stronger heart.
Swimming Benefits for Mental Health
Exercise has a significant impact on children’s mental health. Studies have found that children and adolescents who receive greater amounts of exercise have lower levels of depression, stress, and psychological distress as well as higher levels of a positive self-image, life satisfaction, and psychological well-being.
It follows that the swimming benefits for mental health in children are many. Swimming helps to boost endorphins and other mood-enhancing brain chemicals. This leads to increased feelings of happiness and other feel-good emotions.
Swimming helps kids with stress, too. As endorphins are produced through swimming, cortisol isdecreased. Cortisol is known as “the stress hormone”, and as it decreases in your child’s brain, they’ll feel more relaxed.
Swimming Benefits for Brain Development
With so much time spent in front of computers, tablets, and televisions, you may be concerned about your child’s brain development. Swimming is a remarkable form of exercise that can improve brain function in babies, children, and adolescents.
In babies, swimming leads to deeper breathing, which in turn leads to sound-making. Making sounds encourages speech and language development, building communication skills at a very early age.
The mind-body connection that’s made over the course of a swim program has a positive impact on toddlers and young children, too. The brain stimulation they receive as they both learn and play in the water can increase the volume of their hippocampus. This is part of the brain responsible for memory. That stimulation also promotes increased intelligence and brain development.
One of the often overlooked benefits of swimming for a kid’s brain development has to do with sleep. Sleep is critical in brain structure development as well as learning, memory, and emotional regulation. Swimming improves sleep through its relaxing qualities and because physical exertion promotes healthy sleeping habits.
Swimming Improves Social Skills
Swimming is thought to be an individual activity, but that’s simply not true in the case of children’s swim programs. Swim lessons are taught in groups and led by friendly, knowledgeable instructors. Many of the classes involve a level of play, and week after week, children get to know each other and become friends, bonded together through similar interests and lifestyles.
Swimming introduces children to the concept of peers. This is especially true for children under the age of 5 who haven’t yet entered school, and a swim program can propel their social development well before they ever enter a classroom. They also learn teamwork and cooperation, which are essential skills that are useful for school, home, and adult life.
Another huge benefit of swimming in terms of social skills is that swimming helps kids to develop confidence. As children progress through swim school, moving from one level to the next in a positive and safe environment, they begin to recognize that they’re capable of growth. They build confidence by learning from their mistakes, which leads to self-assessment, adaptation, and resilience – all skills that will serve them well inside and outside the pool.
Ready for Your Child to Benefit from Swimming?
Although we’ve only mentioned 4, the benefits of swimming for kids are actually many. Swimming carries physical, mental, social, and developmental benefits that will help your child grow in their program, at school, at home, and later in life.