There are a lot of articles written about swimming, but you may have noticed that most of them are about children and/or the training of super stars. It’s true. We usually associate swimming with childhood and with fun. Swimming probably isn’t high on your of things to-do.
The Wall Street Journal (Tuesday, August 7, 2012) featured an article by Sanette Tanaka about swimming and grown-ups. I thought to myself, it’s about time! The author pointed out that 37% of adults in the United States can not swim the length of a standard swimming pool. Could they be talking about you? You don’t have to be embarrassed or ashamed but have you thought about how learning to swim could impact your life?
Swimming was not particularly popular when we were kids. Many of us grew up in rural areas without access to municipal swimming pools. We also didn’t have mothers who could drive or had time to drive us places if they could. We are talking pre-car pool days here. So, you grew up either believing that swimming was a luxury or were secretly relieved because you afraid of the water.
The good news is that it is never too late to learn how to swim, or to swim better. I can swim but I have never been comfortable in the water which means the idea of learning how to swim better appeals to me. I read somewhere that you can be unfit, overweight and blind, have one arm or no legs and you would be able to swim. Well, that certainly takes the wind out of any excuse sails doesn’t it?
Drowning aside, can you think of any good reasons why you should or should not learn how to swim? Swimming is a gentle sport and it is safer than most. It is low impact and the danger of falling or hurting yourself is pretty slim. If you get tired you are only steps away from the side or ends of the pool, and think about it…an emergency trained lifeguard is only a few seconds away.
Swimming is an easy form of physical activity. You already know that physical active is good for you at any age. If you are middle aged it will improve your physical well-being. If you are over 65 swimming will improve your mobility and it is a good way to meet people. If you are over 85 exercise can make the difference between independent living and helplessness. Conquer your fears and let swimming or water aerobics classes improve your fitness level.
The secret is finding a swimming program that caters to adults. Late learners tend to take longer and require different techniques than those used with children. A good instructor knows this and will steer you toward a grown up class. You don’t have to be the only 70 year old in with a class of 6 year olds. Yes, the process may be slow and even frustrating and it may even take longer than you expected, but you can learn how to enjoy the process.
Save your life or save someone else’s. You will be an inspiration to all if your take that first step (or stroke as the case will be). Learn how to swim!