From athleticism to mental well-being: Early-age swimming lessons have many benefits for kids
For many Singaporeans, swimming is an activity we participated in regularly as children. Most of us will have shared experiences or similar memories of participating in SwimSafer (water safety lessons). Remember the time treading water and swimming in pyjamas?
And in the competitive realm, swimming and other aquatic sports like water polo continue to shine in Singapore's sporting story. And while you and I may not achieve the medal-winning feats of some of our fellow countrymen and women, all of us, especially children, can still make a splash at our local ActiveSG pool.
Swimming is a life skill
You hear it as a parent and as a child. Knowing your child is proficient in the water gives you peace of mind when they eventually attend social events—from pool parties to days at the beach—and who wouldn't want that? Need a recommendation on where to begin? We recommend enrolling your child(ren) in fun yet structured lessons and programmes like SwimSafer 2.0 that progressively build their proficiency and confidence in the water.
With their SwimSafer 2.0 e-certificate and newfound skills, a world of aquatic activities opens up to your child. Whether during the holidays or as part of after-school activities, they can try new sports, learn lifesaving, splash about at the beach, and so much more—with 71% of Earth covered in water, learning to swim simply makes sense.
The physical benefits of learning to swim
Swimming helps develop children's fine and gross motor skills, as with any other physical activity. Swimming, however, is a full-body activity performed against water resistance and with different types of strokes—so why are these three things good or better?
1. Swimming develops strength and muscles as kids move through the water.
2. Swimming develops a robust cardiovascular system and teaches your kid to control their breath—which has many benefits for overall well-being.
3. Swimming develops coordination with its different strokes that are full-body movement patterns.
To top it off, physical activity can positively affect other aspects of your child's life. From the classroom to the dining table to sleep—movement expands their cognitive ability, and expending their energy will work up their appetite and help them sleep better.
Water (blue spaces) and mental wellness
You've probably heard of green spaces and their calming, therapeutic benefits. Think about the last time you walked, ran or sat in a park or nature reserve—did it refresh you mentally?
Well, water or blue spaces gives us (your child included) the same (if not more) benefits. The gentle sound of water lapping at the pool or waves rolling onto a beach lulls us to sleep. The open expanse and the sea breeze soothe. And when we submerge ourselves in water, a nifty bit of evolution known as the mammalian diving reflex activates.
Too complex to explain or understand in a single article, we'll attempt to explain the benefits of the mammalian diving reflex simply—while doing its intricacy justice. Here's what it is and why it's good to activate it:
● It's the human body's survival response to being submerged in water.
● It slows many bodily functions down to preserve (your) life.
● As we hold our breath underwater, our heart rate slows (a survival mechanism)—which can lead to the calming effect of being in the water.
Because of these effects, swimming and being in water (which can activate the mammalian diving reflex) may prove helpful for anxious and stressed-out children.
Need more reasons to get your child into a pool (besides our sweltering tropical climate)? Whether you make swimming a holiday or weekend activity, enjoying an active lifestyle with your family is even easier with a $100 ActiveSG credit top-up for ActiveSG members aged 4–12, starting 1 May 2023. Time to cool off and have some fun in the sun!
Is your child not an ActiveSG member, yet? Sign them up via the ActiveSG app.
Find out more here.