Everyone Should Learn to Swim: Here’s why!

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Everyone Should Learn to Swim: Here’s why!


Learning to swim should be a priority for every family. It’s an important life skill that can play a key role in helping to prevent drowning—a top cause of death among children. Children, and their parents, need to learn how to swim to help keep time in the water safe and fun!

The benefits of swimming are endless, and your child should learn to swim as early as possible. Here’s why:

1. It’s essential to safety.

According to the National Safe Kids Campaign, drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related death to children ages one through 14. It is absolutely crucial that all kids know how to swim at a young age. There is water all around us, even if it’s as small as a bathtub. Making sure that your child is comfortable in and around water is essential to their safety.

I’ve been swimming since I was three years old, and almost all of my teammates began just as early. Even if your child isn’t interested in competitive swimming, ensuring your child knows how to swim should be done as early as possible. Their interest in the actual sport is just an added benefit!

2. It’s a low-impact sport.

Swimming is obviously low-impact, as it’s performed in water. According to Bucknell University, the body is 90 percent buoyant when in the water up to your neck, so you’re not hitting the ground with the weight you carry on land. Swimming is the ideal sport for the well-being of one’s body in the long run.

Yes, anything in excess can cause your body to break down, so swimming injuries are common. But if you get a shoulder injury, you may still kick during practice to stay in shape. This isn’t so easy in other sports, where you often have to stop the sport altogether because of the impact.

In swimming, you can often just rest the injured part of your body, and still, use the healthy part of you in the pool. The most common swimming injuries are from overuse, showing that swimming is generally very easy on one’s body as opposed to a critical injury such as a sprain or break from running or jumping.

Note: The lack of serious injuries from swimming does not include dryland training, where often clumsy and uncoordinated fish out of water (also known as swimmers) are more likely to injure themselves.

3. The value of teamwork is learned along with individuality.

Like any sport, the team atmosphere is the greatest aspect. College athletes admit that post-graduation, they miss their team and the hours spent together while training and traveling. In an article I previously wrote, I stated the significance of using your teammates to help you get through the hardest times, because your friends on the team endure the same hard work that you do every day. From this shared experience, swimmers learn to support their teammates, which creates a positive atmosphere. This is a skill that can be carried throug life into the workplace and beyond.

But teamwork is learned in plenty of sports, so why is swimming special? The great thing about swimming is that there is also an individual aspect to it. In competitive swimming, you learn self-motivation and goal setting/reaching. Swimmers have their own personal set of times for their events.

At each meeting, competitive swimmers try to beat their personal best times, while at the same time swimming for their team as a whole. In high school and college swimming, the primary motivation is to earn points for your team so they can win the meet. I always swam on a club team in high school instead of swimming for my school. So when I reached college swimming, I realized the gravity of teamwork and support, and I was able to push myself to a new level. Swimming packages teamwork and individuality into one sport.

4. Time management is inevitably learned.

Time management has been one of the most valuable skills I’ve attained over the past 15 years of competitive swimming. I have learned how to take the little free time I have to get what needs to be completed on time.

Especially in high school, when I was practicing nine times per week while studying, my free time was limited. I would wake up before school and swim, go straight to school, and then swim again after. On weekends, I practiced twice a day on both Saturday and Sunday.

I was able to train myself physically and mentally to know when it was more important to stay up and get an assignment done versus getting the sleep I needed for my brain to work properly the next day. My work ethic was often praised by my friends and teachers, and I didn’t realize how well prepared I would be for college until my first year at the University. I learned time management at an early age, and this skill has carried me through my four years of swimming in college.

This is a skill that swimmers will hold for the rest of their lives. Being able to divide and manage one’s time, to prioritize what needs to be done first, second, and last is an invaluable talent that is gained through competitive swimming.

5. Swimming is an incredible workout.

The sport involves moving multiple muscle groups in a high-intensity, cardio workout. All four strokes involve working different muscle groups. Oftentimes, children and adults take up swimming for weight loss. It burns calories quickly and is easier for overweight people to pick up because it’s low-impact. According to Bucknell, swimming offers 12 to 14 percent more resistance training than life on land- offering an exceptionally challenging workout.

Aside from weight loss, introducing your child to swimming early on will promote a healthy life. Once he or she learns to swim, they may hop in a pool at any point in their life to get a low-risk, high-intensity workout.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, swimming can help with chronic diseases and mental health. Water-based exercising like swimming improves the use of joints affected by arthritis.

The CDC also states that “Parents of children with developmental disabilities find that recreational activities, such as swimming, improve family connections.” Swimming also releases endorphins, which aid in decreasing depression and improving moods.

6. You can swim for the rest of your life.

If your child knows how to swim at a young age, this skill is forever with them. In their later years, their longevity and quality of life will be enhanced by swimming. The CDC says that water exercising helps to decrease disability and aids in the quality of life in older adults. Since swimming is a low-impact sport, this makes it a safe option for older adults, rather than risking a fall while biking or running. Swimming feels good on joints and boosts one’s mood at the same time.

It’s essential that every child learn to swim, especially to be water-safe. But there are so many levels of swimming and benefits that come along the way. Introduce your child to swimming early on so that they have the skill for their whole life. This can help improve their overall physical and mental health. Hopefully, they will fall in love with the sport and lap it up for years.

When Should My Child Start Swim Lessons?

Recent studies suggest that water survival skills training and swim lessons can help reduce drowning risk for children between ages 1-4. Classes that include both parents and their children also are a good way to introduce good water safety habits and start building swim readiness skills. Children develop at different rates, and not all are ready to begin swim lessons at exactly the same age. When making your decision, keep your child’s emotional maturity, physical and developmental abilities and limitations, and comfort level in the water in mind. If your child seems ready, it’s a good idea to start lessons now.

By their 4th birthday, most children are ready for swim lessons. At this age, they usually can learn basic water survival skills such as floating, treading water, and getting to an exit point. By age 5 or 6, most children in swim lessons can learn the front crawl.

Remember, swim lessons don’t make kids “drown-proof.” Always keep in mind that swim lessons are just one of several important layers of protection needed to help prevent drowning. Another layer includes constant, focused supervision when your child is in or near a pool or any body of water. It is also essential to block access to pools during non-swim time.

11 Best Swimming Locations for Your Toddler in Nairobi

Swimming is one of the best ways to train your child on fitness, confidence, discipline, strength, and coordination. However, finding the perfect location can be tricky.

We’ve compiled a list of child-friendly pools that may be in your neighborhood. Be aware that some places do charge a fee, others may not. Please call ahead to confirm prices as well as any regulations the hotel may have and availability.

1. Jacaranda Hotels

Location: Woodvale Close, Westlands

Tel no: (254) (711) 089000

Email: cro@jacarandahotels.com

Operating hours: 7:00 am – 7:30 pm

Cost: Ksh.600 for children and Ksh.1000 for adults

Temperature: not heated

2. Ole Dume Suites

Location: Ole Dume Road, Kilimani

Tel no: +254 722 385 280

Email: reservations@oledume.com

Operating hours: 7:00 am – 6:00 pm

Cost: Ksh.200 per child per day and Ksh. 400 per adult per day

Temperature: not heated 

3. Best Western Executive Suites

Location: Corner off Riverside Drive and Riverside Grove, Nairobi, Kenya

Tel no:+254 (0) 733 407 100

Email: reservations@bwexecutiveresidencynairobi.co.ke

Operating hours: 6:30 am – 10:00 pm

Cost: Ksh.1000 for adults and Ksh.500 for kids

Temperature: heated at around 30-40 degrees celsius  (regulated according to weather)

4. Methodist Resort (formerly known as Methodist Guest House)

Location: Oloitokitok Road | Off Gitanga Road

Tel no: +254 733 699994

Email:reservations@methodistresort.co.ke

Operating hours: 10:00am – 8:30pm

Cost: Ksh.300 for kids and Ksh.500 for adults

Temperature: not heated 

5.  Sarabi Pool at Sankara

Location: Woodvale Grove, Westlands

Tel no: +254 703 028000

Email: connect@nairobi.sankara.com

Operating hours: 6:00am – 6:00pm

Cost: Ksh.200o for under 13 and Ksh.2500 for over 13

Temperature: heated (regulated according to weather)

Swimming classes for children also available! 

6. Fairmont the Norfolk

Location: Harry Thuku Rd, Nairobi, Kenya

Tel no: +254 20 2265555

Email:kenya.reservations@fairmont.com

Operating hours: 8:00am – 6:00pm

Cost: Ksh.800 for kids and Ksh.1800 for adults

Temperature: heated at 28 degrees celsius

Location: Kasarani

Tel no: 02023900500

Email:  info@stadiumskenya.co.ke

Operating hours: 7:00 am- 5:30pm

Cost: Ksh. 150

Temperature: not heated

8. YMCA Nairobi Central Hostel

Location: Sate House Road

Tel no: +254729152816

Email: centralymcahostel@kenyaymca.com

Operating hours: 9:00 am – 7:00pm (closes  early at 5:00 pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and weekends)

The Hostel allows guest to use indoor facilities within the complex at a fee.

Cost: Ksh. 50 per for members and Ksh. 100 per day for non -members

Temperature: not heated 

9. Impala Club Kenya

Location: Ngong Road

Tel No: +254202111951

Email: info@impalaclubkenya.com

Operating hours: 6:00 am – 7:00pm

Cost: Ksh. 300 for adult non-members and Ksh. 200 for children who are non- members.

Temperature: not heated

10. Rowallan Club

Location: Kibera Drive near Jamhuri ASK Showground

Tel no: +254020220819

Cost: Ksh. 100 a day

11. Nairobi Club

Location: Ngong Road opp Kenya National Library Services

Tel no: 0722 203649

Email: info@nairobiclub.com

Temperature: not heated

Only for members 

They also have organized swimming galas quarterly during every school holiday including April, August and December, usually from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00p.m.

12. Cloud Hotel Suites

Location: Parklands

Tel no: 0715404994 

Email: info@cloudhotelsuites.com

Operating hours: 7:00am-7:00pm

Cost: Ksh.600 for adults and Ksh.400 for kids

Temperature: heated (regulated according to outside weather)

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