5 benefits of swimming for your little ones

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Dr Suruchi Goyal Agarwal, Consultant-Paediatrics and Paediatric Endocrinology, Columbia Asia Hospital in Bangalore talks about the benefits of swimming for kids.

Summer is the best time of the year to dive in for some serious swimming lessons. Swimming is not just the best way to beat the summer heat, but also helps in boosting body immunity as well as strength in children.

A swimming lesson learnt today not only makes your little ones more energetic but also can make them healthier.

Swimming is an excellent form of exercise for the entire body. Even 3 months old infants can be taken into the pool as they would enjoy playing with water. Kids above 3 years of age can start learning swimming. That apart, adults with back pain or higher body mass and elderly people with arthritis, joint pain or knee pain can also take up swimming.

Swimming has a positive effect on the lymphatic system, which is responsible for distributing healthy white blood cells throughout the body resulting in increased immunity against all diseases and infections.

Health benefits of swimming for children...

Encouraging swimming among kids with proper precautions and regular monitoring is important to assure their safety. 

1. Improves body flexibility

Due to less effect of gravity in water, our body can move through a wide range of motions. Since it involves more efforts than activities such as running or cycling, it leads to developing stronger muscles and bones in children with improved flexibility.

2. Beneficial lung and cardiovascular workout

Swimming helps lungs to use oxygen effectively by increasing heart rate. As we continue swimming our heart rate slows down, improving blood pressure. This ensures good cardiovascular health along with beneficial lung workout.

3. Ensures overall fitness 

Swimming is an aerobic exercise that uses body’s main muscle groups. This helps in reducing the risk of obesity in children, averting the associated health complications such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart diseases. Also, swimming promotes release of growth hormones in young children.

4. Improves body posture 

While swimming, a person needs to synchronize movement of arms and legs together with the body. This helps in ensuring strength and coordination between different body parts. Hence, it helps kids to develop good body posture with proper growth and development of tissue muscles.

5. Relieves mental pressure 

Recreational swimming helps in generating positive hormones in the body and makes kids feel refreshed and happy. This relives mental pressure among children. 

Rigorous aerobic exercises such as jumping, running or cycling may often trigger wheezing and shortness of breath in people prone to asthma. Swimming is a better option as it avoids contact with dry air which can trigger asthma symptoms known as Exercise Induced Bronchoconstriction. 

Being a low impact exercise, swimming is also beneficial for people suffering from certain musculoskeletal problems and other respiratory illness, provided a person follows prescribed medications and precautionary measures suggested by the consultant.  

Precautionary tips to follow...

  • Chlorinated pools with invisible chemicals such as chloramines can sometimes lead to people develop breathing problems, itchy skin and dried hair. Therefore, it is important to take shower using a body wash immediately after swimming to remove chlorine deposits from skin.
  • Wear a cap to protect hair while swimming.
  • While kids are swimming, make sure they do not swallow pool water as it may lead to gastrointestinal problems in kids during summers.
  • Also, swimming should be avoided if a child suffers severe cough and cold as it will infect others.

 

Republished with permission from: The Indus Parent

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