I believe that swimming is an important life skill that we need to learn as soon as possible, as young children.
The number of drownings among children can be avoided and need to be reduced. With that said, most swimming schools typically begin floating classes from the age of six months, with the odd few that start before that age.
The aim is not to turn kids into professional swimmers like Michael Phelps or Natalie du Toit from a young age. The aim should be to teach them the life skill.
Besides learning to float and ultimately learning to swim in order to avoid unnecessary drownings, swimming has a list of other benefits.
Benefits of swimming
• It is good for cardio training because it keeps the heart rate up, but with little impact or stress on one’s body compared to the hard impact of running for example.
• It trains one’s heart and lungs and helps to maintain their functionality, thereby improving your endurance.
• Helps to build muscle strength.
• Improves coordination and balance.
• Can also improve one’s flexibility and posture.
• It’s a calorie-burning exercise and can help to maintain a healthy weight.
• Can be done for a lifetime with no negative effects on one’s body.
• It helps to alleviate stress.
• It is a relaxed form of exercise that can be used as part of a relaxation routine at the end of the day.
What you need to get started
• Equipment: swimming is one of those sports that doesn’t require much money to get involved in. The minimum requirements are a good pair of goggles and your swimming costume or trunks.
• Finances: it helps to have some form of coaching from the start as swimming is technical and specific.
You can develop your skill and minimise bad swimming habits from the start by investing a little bit of funds for instructed coaching.
Unlike weight training routines, which one can learn off multiple apps or YouTube channels that we have access to, I wouldn’t suggest doing the same with swimming, because it can be a life and death situation if done incorrectly.
I learned the basics in swimming (floating and freestyle stroke) at a young age, but I didn’t continue with one on one coaching, and over time I developed bad swimming habits.
I would struggle to complete a single lap without being exhausted and taking a break in the middle of the pool.
There is a science behind swimming posture and how to perform the various strokes and once I attended three months of instructed swimming, I was able to complete 100 laps in an one hour session with limited exhaustion.
Typically, swimming lessons can be inexpensive, especially if you take it up in groups. It is an essential life skill that can save lives. Even in retirement, swimming can improve one’s quality of life.
Zulu is a qualified biokineticist and co-founder of PopUpGym. Follow her on Instagram: @letshego.zulu; Twitter: @letshegom; Facebook: Letshego Zulu