Archive for August, 2016

Go for the Gold by Swimming Year-Round

The start of August means that most families are beginning to wrap up their summer, changing their focus from beach trips and swim lessons to back-to-school shopping and fall schedule planning. This being an Olympic year, however, it’s the perfect time to think about the benefits of year-round swimming. This year, kiddos across the nation will watch U.S. swim icons Michael Phelps and Missy Franklin compete for the gold medal, using strokes and techniques that they learned this summer in swim lessons. What will they be thinking as they watch? Will they envision themselves going for the gold in the butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke or freestyle? Can they see themselves up on a podium, listening to the national anthem play for them? With dedication and hard work, it certainly is possible.

What if we don’t see competitive swimming in our family’s future?

Even if your little swimmer doesn’t get bit with the competitive swimming bug, there’s a benefit to your child by developing a habit for year-round swimming, none-the-less. Not all swimmers end up swimming competitively, and that’s ok! Swimming is the ultimate competition against yourself. Whether its mastering a new stroke, increasing endurance or beating a personal time, swimming promotes determination and discipline.

One of the biggest benefits of year round swimming is that it promotes water safety and a lifelong healthy lifestyle. Year round swimmers build skills way beyond those of seasonal swimmers, which reduces the risk of downing, and is also a great form of exercise. Although the movement is rigorous, the water is more gentle on your joints than running or tennis and provides for more of a workout than golfing or other lifelong recreational sports. Swimming is truly the ultimate physical activity for people looking to stay trim and fit well into their golden years.

Sounds great but we do summer swimming only because the school year is so busy.

Back to school is a hectic time. Casual summer days are almost over, as early morning drop offs, evening pick ups, and homework are about to creep back in. This adjustment period can be tough for parents and kids alike, as schedules fill up quickly. However, I’ve heard more than one parent tell me that the regimented nature of the school-year routine provides the perfect backdrop for steady swim lessons. And consistency is the key. Just like other hobbies or sports activities, skills learned over the summer can be lost over time if your kiddo goes the entire school year without continued practice. Plus, parents gain peace of mind knowing that their little ones will have the skills to be safer in the water, year round!

But won’t my kiddo be tired after attending school all day?

School typically involves sitting still and listening to instruction for extended periods of time. Recess and free time have been systematically taken out of the school day for most grade levels. Young bodies need an outlet to vent all that stored energy that builds up during the school day. That’s where swim lessons come into play. Swimming invigorates like no other activity, building strength and endurance. A typical practice involves working all the muscles in the body evenly. Being in the water after a long day in a chair also provides a gentle stress relief for many children, allowing them to sleep better at night and be more focused in school the following day.

So as your family watches the Olympics on TV this month and cheers for our country in all the sport categories, consider what you can do for your child to foster positive habits like determination, perseverance and dedication that we see in our Olympic athletes. Year-round swimming may just be what they need.

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August 2, 2016 at 3:40 pm 4 comments


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