The figures are alarming; there are many Australians who simply cannot swim. With the majority of the population living near the coast, many of us wonder: how can this be?
One contributing factor is that ours is a multi-cultural society with one in four of us born overseas. Many new Australians come from a country where swimming is not part of life and swim safety is not taught.
Another factor is that swimming is no longer part of the educational curriculum, so our school aged kids are not learning water survival skills. The cost and time commitments required for parents to ensure their children are exposed to swimming lessons are, in many cases, prohibitive, meaning kids are growing up without these life skills. Some babies start swimming using float suits in order to get familiar with the water.
Swimming Australia and Surf Lifesaving Associations are certainly encouraging us to teach our children how to swim. Swimming is promoted as a skill for life as all ages can benefit from the health and mental benefits of immersing themselves in water.
Swimming is recommended as a great way to feel good about yourself, reducing stress, anxiety and the symptoms of depression.
There is recent research also, that states children who learn to swim at a young age reach developmental milestones faster than their non-swimming peers.
So…let’s get swimming!
Learning to swim as an Adult
Like anything – it’s never too late to learn to swim. Organizations such as Swimming Australia are committed to ensuring all Australians are aware of the many valuable benefits of swimming.
Don’t let the end of the warmer summer months put you off. There are many indoor swimming centers and solar heated outdoor pools encouraging us to enjoy swimming year round.
To embark on a new activity or to simply maintain your interest, there needs to be an element of fun. Swimming lessons are designed with safety and enjoyment in mind.
To find an accredited Swimming Centre near you, follow the links from the Swim Australia website.
Swimming to keep fit & active
Lap Swimming – If you plan to swim in order to improve your fitness and to lose weight, you will need to swim laps. To ensure your heart is pumping, a steady approach to the laps is necessary. Lap swimming is not about swimming fast, but is about endurance and technique. A swimmer can burn anywhere between 500-1200 calories an hour depending on stroke choice and technique. A two-piece training swim-suit or sports swimwear will ensure that you are comfortable in the water, with the least resistance from your swimsuit.
Fitness Classes in Water – Many gyms and swimming centers have fitness classes on offer that take place in the pool. Aqua Aerobics combine standing exercises with the natural resistance of water to work the muscle groups. Strengthening and toning are the main benefits of these types of aqua exercises. Once again, one piece sports swimwear or training swimwear will be the best option as a bikini or low cut swimsuit may move when the water pulls on them while you are jumping up and down in the water.
Swimming for fun – swimming and frolicking in the water with your children or friends is the perfect way to spend hot days. Not only will you feel refreshed, but also you are exercising – disguised as fun! Parents will advocate the wonders of an afternoon of swimming and playing in the water for their children as they watch them sleeping soundly that night.
Swimming Benefits include fitness and an improvement in your mental health, and swimming can also reduce the likelihood of heart & blood vessel disease, diabetes, arthritis and swimming, which in turn reduces the need for doctor’s appointments, saving you time and money! What are you waiting for?