The physical benefits of swimming are well documented: it’s a cardiovascular workout that employs many muscles which are otherwise under-utilized. And that’s just for starters. But what of its mental advantages, of which there are many? And as an activity beloved of children, how do these positives manifest in the young?
Here are just some of the mental benefits of swimming for children:
Swimming stimulates mental development
Swimming is an assault on the senses, with your body literally submerged in stimulation. And that, of course, is to the utmost benefit of a child, who requires this level of cognitive interaction to develop the many key skills that life demands.
“Key to swimming’s benefits is the advancement of the senses which is critical to a child’s development. This mental stimulation is central to learning, but also social awareness and emotional development too. The physical side of swimming adds to this mental stimulus, as exercise has now been proven to facilitate without a shadow of a doubt,” argues Roger Carnoustie, a lifestyle blogger at Boomessays and Australian help.
Swimming helps overcome fear
The vast majority, if not all children love swimming, unless they develop a fear of the water at any early age, which is not uncommon. In fact, a fear of the water is a very natural reaction to have, especially before children develop the ability to swim. That is the very reaction that is required to aid survival. But as that fear is gradually overcome through a familiarity, acceptance and finally conquering of the water, the mental benefits of that growth cannot be underestimated.
Swimming is also an empowering feeling for your child. The feeling of weightlessness in the water, and the ability to jump into the water and glide back to the surface provides a sense of incredible freedom, both physically, and as a result mentally too. This boosts confidence no end.
Swimming can be a social activity
Having swimming lessons can be an immensely social activity, even though swimming itself can be at times solitary (although that is no bad thing either). The ritual involved in going to the pool and getting changed to swim, and then getting changed again after fosters camaraderie and routine, and the unique learning environment that swimming provides is also incredibly beneficial to your child. These social interactions stand your child in good stead for the future, and the benefits of swimming continue to be felt.
Swimming relieves stress
Even at an early age we are susceptible to stress, and all the negative mental and physical symptoms that brings. Firstly, as a physical exercise, swimming releases endorphins which are recognized stress busters. The benefits of physical exercise to stress relief are well known. But there’s more.
“Swimming is also a sport which regulates breathing, in a similar way to yoga. That control over breathing is a powerful weapon in the fight against such problems as anxiety, even in children. Regular deep breaths can help relax us in times of stress, and these skills that swimming teaches can be beneficially applied to real life scenarios too,” says Fran Wozinski, a health writer at Essayroo and Academized.
When submerged in water, we enter a silent world too. That silent world is also conducive to stress busting, as we feel a surreal oneness with our surroundings that is difficult to mimic.
Swimming fosters the ability to overcome mental hurdles
Unlike many other animals, humans cannot swim naturally: it is a learnt skill. And once we learn to swim, we must then seek to improve our techniques to get quicker and more efficient through the water. If you start competing, rigorous training regimes are involved which are focused totally on self-improvement – swimming is a solo sport, after all.
In short, there are always hurdles to overcome when it comes to swimming. As a child overcomes those hurdles with commitment and determination, that taches a mental fortitude which is essential for life. Once again, the mental benefits of swimming are being realized, and are able to be applied to real-life situations long after you exit the swimming pool. Once again, swimming proves its value.
The mental benefits of swimming are numerous. Added to the more overt physical benefits, and considering the fact it is an accessible and affordable activity, you are faced with one of the very best activities open to you and your child.
Ellie Coverdale is a career writer with State of writing and BigAssignments. Among other skills and interests, Ellie enjoys sharing her job hunting, professional development and wellness tips with her audience. Ellie also teaches writing classes at EliteAssignmentHelp.