Why Is Swimming The Best Physical Activity For Your Child?

Swimming is an excellent form of exercise, we all know this. It is a great way for children to have fun, whilst also improving their physical fitness.

Low Impact, Top Results

Swimming is kind to the joints, due to the fact that the water takes your weight. There’s no heavy impact or shock to the body, meaning less risk of injury to children’s joints and bones. Despite this low risk of injury, swimming is still a great cardiovascular workout, strengthening the heart and lung function. It also strengthens muscles all over your body, improves flexibility and enhances endurance. Swimming is a great way to prevent childhood obesity.

Good For The Mind

Swimming is a great way to clear the mind once they become water confident, which is great for anxious children, because you can concentrate on the strokes and movements in a non-competitive way. It is also great for coordination as children learn how to coordinate their arms and legs simultaneously, to keep them afloat.

Safety

Aside from the wonderful aspects of the mind and body, swimming is also a life saving skill. By being confident in the water, you can prevent your chances of drowning, and even save someone else’s life. Research suggests that one out of every five people who die from drowning each year, are under 14 years old. This is a shocking statistic and highlights the fact that we need to get our children swimming as early as possible.

Badges

Children love to achieve. They love to be praised and have something to show for their efforts. Swimming badges and certificates are a great plus point for youngsters, encouraging them to keep trying and showing them how far they have come. Swimming is a sport where you can compete with yourself, or with others if you choose, so you can tailor each challenge to the particular child.

Gym vs Swim

Gym vs Swim

If you are looking to get fit or keep fit then you might be torn between heading to the gym or taking a dip in the pool. Of course, both activities can provide enormous benefits to your wellbeing and as the experts say, some exercise is better than nothing. However, if you are wondering which activity will be best for you, you need to look at the bigger picture and consider your ability, your goals and what you want to get from your time spent exercising.

GymPersonal_Training_at_a_Gym_-_Pushups Gym vs Swim

The gym is the obvious place to go if you want to add muscle, lose weight or keep fit. Gyms have so much equipment that it is easy to keep a training routine that is varied and fresh each time you walk through the door. Sure, being in a gym means that you are around others who can spur you on to train harder but of course, it could make you feel the opposite. There is no doubt that an hour on the treadmill or thirty minutes on the cross-trainer will keep you feeling fit and healthy and you will burn calories but it can become repetitive and that can certainly contribute to people losing interest in using the gym.

There is also the cost of gym memberships, with many costing as much as £70 per month – a lot of money to spend if you are not using it as much as you should be.

Swimmingswimmers-swimming-race-competition-56837 Gym vs Swim

Swimming is an exercise that comes with a huge amount of benefits, more than you might see when compared to certain exercises in the gym such as lifting weights. Depending on your goals, swimming can help you to lose weight but it can also help you to tone up, helping you to look good and feel good.

One of the major benefits of swimming is that it works the entire body at the same time. To achieve this in the gym, you would have to use a number of machines and carry out different exercises, all of which requires time. During a session in the pool, you will use muscles that you very rarely use, regardless of whether you use a gentle breaststroke or the butterfly. Alongside this, swimming means that your body is under resistance from the water, which can often mean that your body would work harder in 30 minutes in the pool when compared to 45 minutes in the gym on average. Swimming is also great for those who have joint and muscle problems because it is not load bearing, making it a more beneficial option when compared to using the gym.

 

For many, the gym can feel as though it is too pressurised and many might feel that they are being watched but this is not the case when it comes to swimming. Swimming, despite being as tough as you want it to be, can help to de-stress and relax, which is certainly something you cannot get from using a gym. A swim in the morning or late at night will clear the mind and reduce levels of stress.

What does this all mean?

The gym clearly has its place but swimming provides a whole body training experience that you can only achieve by putting in more effort in the gym. For many, swimming is the preferred option because of the number of benefits it offers but it is also ideal for those who want to train at their own pace with no pressure, because as long as you can swim, you can certainly reap the rewards of swimming.

 

Woggles, Arm Bands or Swimfin? Which One Is Best?

There are a huge range of swimming aids to help children and adults to swim. All have different benefits, however which one is the best option to aid with swimming? Here we compare three of the most popular swimming aids around.

WOGGLES

Swimming woggles, or noodles as they are sometimes referred to, are not only useful swimming aids, but they are fun too. They are a great aid, as they can be used in a multitude of ways to enhance confidence in the water.

bigstock-Child-In-A-Swimming-Pool-11160815 Woggles, Arm Bands or Swimfin? Which One Is Best?

Swimming woggles can be used as a swim ring or float, and allow people to move very freely in the water, as they offer a natural, flexible support. In addition to being the perfect swimming aid, woggles can also be used for pool games, water training and aquarobics classes.

ARM BANDS

Arm bands are a popular and timeless swimming aid for children. They are easy to use, easy to store and great for young children as they may not be able to keep hold of a float or woggle. Compared to woggles, arm bands, perhaps do restrict the movement of the arms somewhat, however, they do allow freedom of movement in the legs, and encourage your face to enter the water a little, allowing children’s water confidence the opportunity to grow.

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SWIMFIN

The Swimfin is another great aid for young children, however it is not suitable for babies. It is fitted onto the back of the child, offering them a natural buoyancy, with complete freedom of movement of both the arms and legs. The Swimfin can be used with other swim aids to build up confidence, and on it’s own when ready. Swimmers can become reliant upon the Swimfin if used for too long, so it is important that it is used correctly.

swimfin Woggles, Arm Bands or Swimfin? Which One Is Best?

 

All of the above swimming aids have their place on the market, with each offering different benefits in the journey of water confidence and learning to swim. The key is to use the correct aid at the correct point of this journey.

Children should always be supervised in the water, even with the addition of these swimming aids.

 

Safety Tips To Survive In Cold Water

 

Hopefully, you’ll never find yourself in a life threatening situation where you need to survive in cold water for a length of time. However, nobody ever predicts this is a situation which will occur to them, so it is good to know how to survive in case the worst happens.

Move

It is highly likely that your body will go into shock in the event of accidental immersion into cold water. You may find it hard to catch your breath, and it becomes easy to panic. Try to relax, breathe and move. If you simply float, your body is not working to keep itself warm and your body temperature is likely to drop even more rapidly. Ideally, try to swim towards safety, however if this isn’t possible, you should continue to move in any way you can. Studies suggest that you can swim for 800-1500 metres in cold water, so try to make it count.

Don’t Panic

Although perhaps easier said than done, try to think logically. Try to assess your surroundings as soon as possible. When making a hesitant decision, you are less likely to be able to complete your rescue plan, due to the fact that your judgement begins to falter once you have been in the cold water for an increased amount of time.

Be Safe

Take those early moments to ensure your life jacket is securely tightened, set off any alerts you may have, and then begin your rescue mission. Typically, adults have 30 minutes before becoming clinically hypothermic, and an hour or more for this to become severe. This means that you have a good chance of being able to save yourself, you have time.

 

Try to keep your head above water and keep moving, regardless of how tired you become. If your body temperature drops further, your body will use more energy to try to keep you warm than it would for you to continue moving.

How To Warm Up Before Swimming

It is common knowledge, that it is important to warm up before exercising. However, often people are unaware how to safely warm up before swimming.

 

Why Is It Important?

When you swim, you are using a huge range of muscles. To avoid injuring these muscles, and to optimise your performance, it is recommended that you warm up effectively. Warming up, helps to oxygenate your body, ensuring there is enough oxygen present in the working muscles. This increases energy supply, meaning your muscles will work more effectively, resulting in a better performance from you.

It also increases your body temperature, which prevents injury in your muscles and tendons. Injury prevention allows your muscles to become stronger, as you can continue to train harder and for longer. A similar process works on your cardiovascular system during a warm up, allowing your heart rate to gradually increase, again, meaning you can work out for longer.

How To Warm Up

Gently swim or walk in the water for 5 minutes to warm your body up, this is especially important if the pool is cool. Once you feel warm and your heart rate has increased, you can introduce stretches. In between or during stretches, it is vital to maintain your body temperature. When present in water, your body temperature is likely to drop rapidly. Between stretches, spend 15-20 seconds jogging or swinging your arms or legs to prevent this drop in temperature.

Stretches

Stretch near the side of the pool if possible, so that you can use the wall to aid your stretches. You will need to focus on stretching your arms and shoulders, legs, glutes and hips, as you use all of these muscles and joints, regardless of which stroke you adopt. Stretch as you would for any cardio workout, but remember to keep warm between each stretch.

Top 5 Children’s Goggles

Goggles are, more often than not, an optional extra when it comes to swimming. However, with the chlorine content in UK pools, combined with the sensitivity of children’s eyes, it’s a good idea to invest in a pair to keep them protected. It can be a bit of a minefield knowing which ones to choose, with so many currently available on the market. Often you end up with snapped straps or leaking goggles. We’ve compiled a collection of the top 5 children’s goggles to give you a starting point before you decide to invest.

 

Frogglez Swimming Goggles

  frogglez-goggles Top 5 Children's Goggles

Frogglez swimming goggles are comfortable and reliable for your little ones, whatever their ages. The unique, patented strap, keeps the goggles in place, without the risk of the goggles moving or falling. The soft strap means that they offer maximum comfort, without the child being aware of the fact that they are wearing them.

 

Aqua Sphere Seal Kid 2

 aquasphere-goggles Top 5 Children's Goggles

The Aqua Sphere goggles look the part, as well as doing a superb job of protecting your eyes. Not only are these goggles successful at keeping the water out, they also protect you from the sun rays with 100% UVA and UVB protection. The lenses also have anti scratch and anti fog treatment, meaning your lenses will stay clearer for longer, giving you a clear view when swimming.

 

Zoggs Kid’s Little Super Seal Goggles

 zoggs-goggles Top 5 Children's Goggles

Fog-free, comfortable swimming from these Zoggs goggles, with maximum UV protection. The strap is strong and durable, meaning these goggles will last longer than your average pair.

 

Speedo Kids’ Skoogles

 speedo-goggles Top 5 Children's Goggles 

These Speedo eye catching and reliable are two of the strongest traits of these goggles. They are also easy to adjust, making them an ideal choice for kids.

 

Speedo Futura Biofuse

 biofuse Top 5 Children's Goggles

 

These goggles mould to your face shape to offer maximum comfort and minimal leakage. This prevents red eye rings, or an unwillingness to wear goggles from your youngster.

 

How to Spot Good Swimming Lessons

When shopping around for swimming lessons, knowing which ones are good and which ones are just average is important. Swimming lessons are an important part of any child’s life and the skills they learn will provide them with a lifetime of fun, exercise and real life-saving abilities. This is why choosing the right swimming lessons is so important and why we here at Surrey Dolphins Swim Academy have created this helpful guide to spotting good swimming lessons for your child.

Here is how to spot good swimming lessons that offer a fun, instructional way to stay fit and learn a new skill:

Good swimming lessons are made up of six key elements that you should look for. These include:

1.    The Swim England Learn to Swim Pathway – this is a certification that swimming schools receive that guarantees your child the best swim instruction with only qualified swim instructors.

2.    A Swim England Member. The Swim England Programme is the national syllabus used to help teachers deliver swimming lessons. It ensures swimming lessons for all ages are delivered to a high and consistent standard and takes non-swimmers on a journey through four specialised Frameworks.

3.    Qualified knowledgeable teachers – a good swimming school ensures that instructors are limited to 12 learners or less in the pool at any one time. They will often use two qualified, knowledgeable instructors.

4.    The seven Learn to Swim stages – most good swimming lessons will teach students using the Swim England Learn to Swim Pathway seven stages.

5.    Students having fun – if a student is having fun in swimming class, then they are more likely to learn from the class and become better swimmers.

6.    Water skills and awareness – there are many basic water skills that young swimmers should be taught before they learn to swim including buoyancy and how to get in and out of the water as well as moving through the water comfortably.

You should also look for these factors when shopping for good swimming lessons:

·        As much information as possible about the programme, the instructors and the school.

·        Good swimming lessons should last at least 30 minutes and your child should be participating most of that time.

·        A good swimming school offers swimming lessons in gradual stages to ensure your child is learning what they need to know before advancing to the next stage. Surrey Dolphins Swim Academy offers a 10 Stage swim instruction programme.

·        Good swimming lessons are taught in a warm, clean and private pool.

·        Good swimming lessons include both private and semi-private swimming lessons.

A free video clip at the end of each term to show your child’s progress.

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Interview With The Owner

We caught up with the founder and director of a Surrey-based swim school, Slawek, to find what it takes to run a successful, effective swim school.

As you would expect, Slawek has had a passion for swimming from a very young age, so the swim school is a perfect career path to fulfil his dream.

 

What was your first big achievement in swimming?

As far as I can remember, my first big swimming achievement was completing a distance of a 5 mile swim in a lake when I was 10 years old.

 

Where Does Your Passion For Swimming Come From?

My Dad has engrafted swimming into me since I was a very little boy and this passion for swimming has stayed with me for all these years. I remember the moments when I used to swim everywhere: in lakes, rivers, ponds and in the sea. In my early childhood, my parents could not afford to sign me up for swimming lessons and there were not that many swimming pools in the town where I lived, so I took every opportunity to swim wherever I could.

 

So it seems, with the challenges that you faced, creating a swim school was a natural step for you. Perhaps you wanting to help future generations from not having accessible swimming lessons. What is your business mission?

To develop a love of swimming in children.

 

Do you find that local competition is a problem for you?

Based on our market research, we have found that there are many local swim schools. However, what distinguishes us from the rest is that we only provide private and semi-private lessons,  which  are held in a private, exclusive swimming pool. We give free badges and certificates when the students achieve a new set of skills, and also, we video record all of our lessons.

 

That’s great that you have so many things to make your school unique. How long would you suggest it takes a child to be able to learn to swim?

Parents very often ask me that question, and my answer is always the same: it varies depending on each child. Some children progress quicker than others, and that is perfectly normal. In my career, I had a five year old girl who could not even submerge after one year of lessons. On the flip side of that, I have had a five year old boy who swam five metres after only one lesson, who had never had swimming lessons prior.

 

So there you have it, words from the successful, and clearly passionate director of your local swim school. Contact Surrey Dolphins Swim School.

 

Best Drills For Frontcrawl Kick

Frontcrawl is one of the most popular swimming styles, and is used all over the world. However, despite its popularity, it is one of the more difficult styles to learn, due to the required breathing techniques and synchronisation between the arms and legs.

KICKING DRILL

There are several drills available to assist in learning, perfecting and improving this style. One of these drills is referred to as the kicking drill. This is a technique combining breast stroke arms and front crawl legs. The idea of this is to encourage strong front crawl legs, without worrying about synchronising the arms or worrying about the breath. You can continue to keep your head above water to breathe. Arms continue to move in small, slow movements. The result is a strong, confident front crawl technique.

 

ADVANCED KICK DRILL

Alternatively, the kicking drill can consist of swimming on your side, looking to the bottom of the pool, with your bottom arm extended up and your top arm by your side. Kick one length of the pool, and then switch sides to kick the next length. Turn your head to the side when you need to breathe. This is a more advanced version of the kicking drill because you do need to move your head to breathe. The plus side is that it is great practice for the breathing during front crawl.

 

Vertical Free Kicking

To help to strengthen your legs and core, and improve your technique, vertical kicking is a great drill. It can be used by professionals, or complete beginners, and can be done in any deep pool. You don’t need lanes or a lot of room, so it’s a great technique to practice when your local pool is slightly overcrowded.

 

Simply continue to kick the legs, vertically, to increase strength and stamina. Work to get as many kicks into a minute as you can.

 

Frontcrawl is an extremely efficient swimming style and is well worth every effort to master the technique.

Why Over 25% Of UK Children Cannot Swim?

According to recent studies, nearly half of British children are unable to swim, and 1 in 3 children are still unable to swim when leaving primary school. This figure is, quite frankly, shocking, and also, dangerous.

School Swimming

One reason for this declining figure of confident young swimmers, is that schools no longer offer as much opportunity to swim as they have done in previous years. One of the reasons for this is due to the decreased access to facilities. Over the past 20 years, there has been a dramatic decrease in school pools. Another reason is due to the cost of transportation to access a public pool. This expense and inconvenience means that, despite swimming being on the Key Stage 2 national curriculum, it is not a priority for many primary schools.

Expense

Many parents say that the cost of private swim schools is too expensive for them to be able to afford. Despite it being seen in many families as life saving skill, it is still not at the top of their list of priorities when families are on a budget.

Time

Time is another major factor as to why parents do not take their children to learn to swim. With the work/life balance seemingly more of a juggling act than ever before, it is no wonder parents are struggling to get their children to swim classes.

Conclusion

One in 3 children between the ages of 10-16 are still unable to swim. This age bracket makes up the highest number of drownings, which really highlights the urgency of the matter. Swimming is more than just a luxury. It is a vital life skill that can save your children’s and others’ lives. We need to reverse these statistics, and it looks like it’s down to the parents to do so.