Childhood obesity is a health epidemic in the United States. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the rates of obesity have quadrupled in adolescents and have doubled in children within the last thirty years. The health risks of childhood obesity can be life altering. With over 12 million overweight children, this epidemic puts one third of America’s youth at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and suffering a stroke. For this reason, childhood obesity prevention is so, so important. Educate yourself on what you can do for your child to keep them happy and healthy!
What can parents do for childhood obesity prevention?
Encouraging a healthy diet and exercise is the best way for children to win the battle against obesity. Parents should promote fun activities like swimming to gear the child towards developing healthy lifestyle habits. Swimming is a great workout and provides all the benefits a child needs for physical and mental well-being. It’s also the ideal exercise for children of all ages, as you don’t need to be naturally athletic to swim laps or play games in the pool. Here are just some of swimming’s amazing benefits for improving your child’s health:
Swimming is an excellent full-body workout that gets your child’s heart pumping. It provides great cardiovascular benefits by promoting heart and lung health. It’s extremely important for growing children to have a strong heart, as it will lead to better overall health as they age. In fact, swimming on a regular basis can improve heart contractility, decrease blood pressure, lower heart rate and improve lung efficiency. To achieve these results, swimmers should aim for 150 minutes of exercise each week.
Improved Heart Contractility
Heart contractility refers to the ability of the cardiac muscle to squeeze and relax, thus pumping blood and oxygen from the heart to other parts of the body. As heart contractility improves, blood and oxygen supply increases, making it easier to perform everyday tasks.
Decreased Blood Pressure
The American College of Sports Medicine states that swimming is an effective exercise, in that it stresses the cardiovascular system without causing major increases in blood pressure. Since the body is in a horizontal position during a swim, the heart does not have to work as hard, thus helping to keep blood pressure in check. This is one of the reasons why swimming is considered extremely helpful in childhood obesity prevention.
Lowered Heart Rate
A low resting heart rate generally correlates to less work on the cardiac muscle, which can be effective in the prevention of certain types of heart disease. Swimming not only results in lowered resting heart rates, but may also actually lead to drops in heart rate during exercise.
Increased Lung Capacity
Swimming helps to increase the size and efficiency of the diaphragm, leading to improvements in respiration. In addition, swimming has been found to lead to increases in the number of capillaries, which are crucial in the supply of oxygen to the bloodstream. When combined, all of these improvements correlate to improve oxygen uptake, distribution and utilization by the body.
Swimming is a low-impact exercise and is easier on the joints since water is low resistance. If a child has developmental issues, swimming provides an excellent way to socialize while getting exercise they wouldn’t be able to get otherwise. Our private swimming lessons provide friendly and helpful instructors who specialize in teaching children with disabilities.
Strength and Co-ordination
Swimming is unique in that it requires the use of most of the body’s major muscle groups. It requires co-ordination as you have to synchronize your arms, legs and breathing. This sport builds endurance, stamina and flexibility. In the long-term, your child will develop strong muscles, improved balance and co-ordination.
Learning Essential Life Lessons
Confidence improves different facets of your life and can provide; freedom from self-doubt, happiness, freedom from fear or anxiety, peace of mind, motivation, self-worth and success. Swimming is a powerful way to build confidence through self-development and self-actualization: it evolves mental and physical strength, independence and discipline, among other things. Not only does swimming teach your child to be independent and confident in the face of obstacles: it teaches them skills that will stick with them for the rest of their lives.
Promotes Mental and Emotional Well-Being
Swimming has a positive impact on emotional well-being. This is because it doesn’t feel like exercise because your body doesn’t overheat. It’s also a great stress reliever! Swimming has been proven to assist with maintaining mental health as well as chronic disease, according to the CDC. Swimming also has numerous benefits for vital organs and major muscle groups. So, encourage daily habits that will translate into a happy, healthy adulthood!
The tremendous benefits of swimming can play an important part in the fight against childhood obesity. Get your child on their way to a healthy life, schedule a private swim lesson with us today! Check out our programs and register for swim lessons.