9 Scientific Benefits of Swimming Year-Round

9           Reduces  the  risk  of  drowning

A case-controlled study by Ruth Brenner and her colleagues discovered that participation in formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning by 88% among children ages one to four. (From the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medincine 2009)

8           Boosts  development  of  the  whole  child

Scientific studies at the German Sports College Cologne have shown that early year-round swimming lessons for young children accelerated their development physically, intellectually, and emotionally.  The children who swam year-round and consistently from infancy were:

  • Significantly stronger and more coordinated.
  • Scored higher for intelligence and problem solving which carried over into excellence in academic achievement.
  • Found to have more self-discipline, greater self-control and an increased desire to succeed.
  • More independent and comfortable in social situations and rated higher in self-esteem.

7           Improves motor development

Studies conducted at Norwegian University of Science and Technology with Dr. Hermundur Sigmundsson and his colleagues found baby swimmers developed better balance, movement and grasping techniques than non-swimmers.

6           Accelerates cognitive development

In 2009 a four year Early Years Swimming Research Project with 45 swim schools across Australia, New Zealand, and the United States found that children under the age of five involved in swim lessons are more advanced in their cognitive and physical development than their non-swimming peers.

In 2011, researchers in Melbourne determined that children who were taught to swim by 5 years of age had statistically higher IQs.

5           Increases memory capacity

Recent studies have shown that amount of a person’s movement and exercise affects the size and memory capacity of this hippocampus – the area of the brain primarily associated with memory and learning.

4           Expands cerebral communication

A baby’s brain develops through bilateral cross patterning movements like swimming, crawling, and walking.  The more cross patterning movements, the more nerve fibers develop in the corpus callosum -the part of the brain that facilitates communication, feedback, and modulation from one side of the brain to the other. Cross patterning movements like swimming activate both cerebral hemispheres and  all four lobes of the brain simultaneously, which can result in heightened cognition and increased ease of learning.

3           Strengthens social confidence

In a longitudinal study, Dr. Liselott Diem and her colleagues reported that children who had taken part in baby swim lessons from the age of two months to four years were better adapted to new situations and had more self-confidence and independence than non­‐swimmers.

In a swim class, the child cooperates within a social structure to learn by observing and mimicking.  He learns to take turns, to share and to cooperate. Being part of the group also contributes to the child’s social development.

2           Enhances neurological development

The child experiences a great deal of tactile stimulation from the water resistance over the entire body while swimming which encourages neurological development. Water has over 600 times the resistance of air. Tactile experiences and interactions in the water are important for overall neural organization.

1           Deepens the parent-infant bond

A swim class establishes a deeper emotional bond because parent and child are face to face, skin to skin, touching in the water.  A firm, loving touch gives the feeling of attachment, commitment, and connection. The parent/baby relationship is enhanced through uninterrupted playful learning time.

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