Fitness, Safety and Family Fun in the Water

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With the warm Texas weather, it’s time to enjoy some fun in the sun and water. Swimming is a low impact workout that can have a big impact on your family’s health and safety. Here are some great reasons to get your family in the water:

Promote Healthy Habits. It’s never too early to begin fostering healthy habits in your child and swimming is an excellent workout. Children can exercise more muscles in the water because they are less restricted by gravity. They engage several body parts without putting stress on their joints. Get your babies in the water, too. Though they may lack the motor skills necessary to walk or run, they can freely use muscles in the water that they wouldn’t use otherwise. Children have so much fun playing and splashing around in the water; they don’t even realize they’re exercising.
Make Learning Fun. Practice the fundamental water safety exercise “Jump, Roll and Shout” in the pool with your kiddos. Teach them to:

• Check the water to make sure it’s safe before jumping in
• Jump feet first into the water
• Rise up to the surface of the water
• Float on back for 10 seconds and yell for help
• Swim toward the side of the pool or edge of the water

Talk with your children about how to react appropriately if they fall in water. Much like fire drills, children should be quizzed often so they know how to react without panicking when they encounter a dangerous or unexpected situation.
Children have a blast learning this exercise and you will have peace of mind knowing your family is safer. If you want to make it really exciting, have them try this fully clothed – kids think it’s super fun and it gives them a more realistic experience.

Get Your Workout In. Swimming is a great way to burn calories while bonding with your family. Water is one of the best fitness tools – it provides resistance, which strengthens muscles and boosts cardio intensity. Water also supports some of your weight, making workouts easier on joints and reducing injury. To make pool time a more challenging workout for you, try keeping your feet from touching the pool bottom while you work with your children. Have everyone grab onto the edge of the pool and practice kicking while keeping your bodies horizontal.

Reduce Exercise-Induced Asthma. Swimming is one of the best exercises for those with asthma because it builds the muscles used for breathing. Breathing in the warm, moist air while swimming helps prevent attacks during exercise. Being fit can actually reduce the frequency of exercise-induced asthma, so keep on swimming.

Enjoy Watching Your Kids Grow and Develop. You’ll treasure the experience of seeing your children reach milestones and grow increasingly independent in the water, while your presence simultaneously models and reinforces the value of a healthy lifestyle. As children become more independent in the water, they develop self-confidence and pride.

Keep Your Family Safer. Safety is the most important reason children should learn to swim, hands down. No one is ever drown-proof, but your family will be much safer around water if you ensure that everyone knows how to swim. Learning to swim requires commitment and dedication (two weeks once a year is not enough). Enroll your family in swim lessons and keep everyone in until they can really swim to dramatically reduce the risk of drowning.
Also, it’s important to assess the risks associated with the water. Awareness and vigilance help keep water activities fun and safe for the whole family. Always designate a Water Watcher (responsible adult supervising the water and doing nothing else) when any kids are in or around the water.

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