Hundreds of parents lose their beloved children every year in the water. As a matter of fact, nearly 400 children under the age of 15 die every year from drowning in the pool or spa. Unfortunately, and quite tragically, knowing how to swim for many of them would have been the difference between an inconvenient tumble into the pool and a tragic death. This is a potential fear that every parent faces, especially if they have a pool or if their kids go to visit a friend’s house for the weekend. It is imperative that parents take this seriously as to avoid ever having to experience a situation like this, because it CAN be avoided. But it’s not only the parents that want their kids to know how to swim, but the children also want to learn for their own sake as well.
For toddlers, the troubles that come from not knowing how to swim are numerous. For one, a toddler who does not know how to swim may develop the fear of water, also known as aquaphobia. This can be quite anxiety-provoking for many toddlers and should be taken seriously. Aquaphobia can turn into a lifetime of avoiding social gatherings surrounding swimming pools or even the beach, and like many phobias, can result in anxiety that develops into other fears such as agoraphobia (the fear of any place or situation that has the potential to cause a panic attack).
Now that we’ve mentioned aquaphobia, let’s dive a little deeper (pun intended). Here’s a full look into all of the reasons why toddler’s swim lessons are important. By the end of this blog, we hope you see the scope of the problem of not knowing how to swim, and we hope you’ll see even more so the benefits your toddler will gain from learning how to swim. Let’s begin.
Physical Health Benefits
More than two-thirds of the United States is overweight or obese, and heart disease continues to reign as the number one cause of death in the United States. Unfortunately, this problem starts early in childhood for many, with nearly 1 in 5 children suffering from childhood obesity. With that in mind, physical health and the associated activities that result in great physical health are more important than they ever have been. Unfortunately, adults with toddlers who struggle with being overweight or obese do not know where to begin. Luckily, we have a potential solution: swimming.
Swimming is one of the best exercises anyone can do (given that they know how to swim), and it can be done by anyone of any age. Below you will find a list of reasons why swimming is one of the best ways your toddler can be healthy.
Low Impact Exercise
Because swimming does not require pounding weights against the ground or running on asphalt, the impact is greatly reduced. This is particularly helpful for people who suffer from injuries, joint pain, or any other form of condition that does not do well during high-impact exercises. As a matter of fact, many physical therapists utilize water for exactly this reason. If you struggle with lifting weights, running, or other high impact exercises, swimming may be the best option out there for you.
Improves Cardiovascular Fitness
Swimming is one of the best cardiovascular exercises known to man. Because of its nature, swimming allows for someone to breath only when their head is out of the water. By practicing proper breathing while swimming, they are working the lungs, increasing their heart rate, and maintaining conscious control over their breathing patterns. This allows for maximum cardiovascular benefits to occur. Fortunately, this directly addresses the statistic mentioned earlier on heart disease.
The heart is part of the cardiovascular system. As a matter of fact, heart disease is a form of cardiovascular disease. If someone swims for exercise, they are directly decreasing their chances of dying from heart disease. Some studies even suggest swimmers reduce their risk of heart disease by nearly 50%. If you want your toddler to have a healthy heart, swimming is the way to go. With that being said, let’s not forget to address another key player in the cardiovascular system: the lungs.
Whenever someone exercises, they increase their heart rate which results in an increased need for oxygen. Basically, when you move your body, you breath faster. Because you can only breath while swimming with your head out of the water, your lungs have to take in the maximum amount of air possible every time you breathe. This results in increased functioning of the lungs as well increased lung capacity. In other words, your lungs work better all around. This caps off a well-rounded cardiovascular system, and swimming addresses all of it. But there’s one other benefit that many people don’t see coming: increased energy.
An efficient cardiovascular system means your body is capable of pumping blood to every part of your body while utilizing every bit of oxygen you get. That means in your day-to-day life, those improvements still exist. If you want your toddler to be energetic, healthy, and happy, swimming is the way to go.
Full Body Workout
A workout is defined as intentionally moving your body against resistance. For example, when you lift weights, the force of resistance is gravity which pulls the weights you are lifting straight down towards the earth. When you are in a pool however, the force of gravity has a very minimal effect. If this comes across as, “swimming is easy,” think again. When you are submerged in water, the force of resistance is even distributed all around you. That means that you are facing resistance in every single direction. So instead of working very specific muscles by moving against the force of gravity like at the gym, you are working your entire body!
The full body workout resulting from swimming is especially known for the amount of energy it takes. In fact, swimming burns twice as many calories as running, making it one of the best ways to get and stay in shape.
Mental Health Benefits
Decreases Rates of Depression & Anxiety
Nearly 1 in 5 people in the United States suffers from depression. Unfortunately, those numbers continue to rise on a yearly basis, even for children. Whether that’s because of decreased physical health, increased societal issues, or political problems we do not know. What we do know is that swimming is one of the best ways to address this. Some studies suggest that swimming as little as half an hour at a time about three times a week can decrease incidences of depression and anxiety.
We all could use a little more relaxation in this busy world, and swimming can be a great way to get that accomplished. Swimming releases endorphins which are associated with a sense of well being and feeling relaxed and accomplished. Many regular swimmers report swimming to be their favorite part of their day for exactly this reason. A competent and well-practiced swimmer will find a pace at which they are comfortable and set into a rhythmic pattern of breathing that rivals being in deep meditation. If your toddler has trouble relaxing, swimming can be a great form of exercise that leads to the deep relaxation we all crave.
Gaining a New Skill
As human beings, we love to learn to new things, especially as kids. It brightens up our lives and makes them interesting. One of the many ways we choose to express ourselves is by participating in activities that allow us to constantly improve and hone our craft. Swimming fits into this category beautifully. After learning basic survival skills, swim strokes, and breathing patterns, toddlers can set goals to improve in many different domains of swimming such as their speed, technique, duration, and much more. Many people even participate in competitive swimming to test their skills against others and continue to improve in that fashion. Learning to swim means a lifetime of potential improvements that push your toddler to be their best self in and out of the water.
Aquaphobia & Social Pressure
We human beings are social creatures, and we want others to like us. When it comes to social gatherings around water and swimming, many toddlers who do not know how to swim will feel anxious. This can stem from their fear of falling in the water and drowning, but it also, in large part, comes from the fact they do not want their peers to know that they do not know how to swim. This can lead to avoiding these situations all together. By learning to swim, they are free to attend these events without the fear and anxiety that can come from not knowing how to swim, and they can finally enjoy themselves in the pool with their friends.
The social benefits of swimming should not be underestimated. Beyond the mere reduction in anxiety and fear mentioned before, swimming can lead to the creation of new relationships that never existed before. Many swimmers join teams, go on swims together, and create friendships through their common interest of swimming. Toddlers benefit from these relationships tremendously. If your toddler wants to make new friends, swimming can be a great way to do it. If your child does not want to swim because they think it is a solitary activity, remind them there are many kids their age who are participating as well, and they may find themselves surrounded by peers they share something in common with.
Are you ready?
If you are an adult with a toddler that does not know how to swim, you now know why you should get them swim lessons to learn. From the physical health benefits that can get them in great physical shape, to the mental health benefits of complete relaxation and improving at something they love, to making new friends and bonds that last a lifetime, swimming is all around one of the best skills they can acquire as a toddler. If you were on the fence about getting swim lessons for your child before, our hope is that you have now realized how important it is for your toddler to learn to swim, and we’ll be there to help them every step of the way, from beginning to end. We look forward to watching your toddler develop their skills and prepare their life in many ways. See you at the pool!