How Swimming can help asthmatic children

How Swimming Can Help Asthmatic ChildrenParents are often faced with a dilemma whenever their children are sick. I’m not just talking about any illness that goes away easily. I’m talking about asthma. Asthma is a long-term disease inflaming the airways.

With asthma, parents are definitely more cautious and we can all understand why. However, that should not stop children from being active. In fact, children should be encouraged to take up various sports beneficial to them.

Swimming is one of the best form of exercise for asthmatic children and less likely to cause asthmatic symptoms. One of the more obvious reasons is the fact that, when one is swimming, one tends to breathe in air from just above the surface of the water. The air from just above the surface of the water is more moist and warmer than the normal air. Not only that, the horizontal position a swimmer is in might also work to loosen the mucous in the lungs.

A study was done in Taipei Medical University in August 20, 2009 to evaluate the effectiveness and co-relation between asthma and exercise. A group of children aged seven to twelve was put through a six-week swimming lesson, in addition to taking their regular asthma medications. Findings showed that children who had been taking the swimming lessons regularly had shown remarkable improvements to their asthmatic symptoms.

Kids Swimming Lessons not only increase the volume of the lungs, it also helps to develop good breathing techniques in children. In general, swimming is excellent in improving muscle tone and general fitness and is also great fun for the children! In Singapore, especially, swimming is considered an easily accessible activity that children can take up as swimming pools can be found at nearly every corner of the island.

A separate study by Ohio State University Medical Centre recommends that asthmatic children should not avoid exercise as regular exercise may improve the function of the airways by strengthening the breathing muscles. 

While there are countless benefits for asthmatic children taking regular exercises such as swimming, parents should also be mindful of asthma triggers such as dust, pollen, smog and cold air, just to name a few. An inhaler must always be an arm’s length away and make sure that asthma medication is taken regularly as prescribed by the doctor.

Proper warming up and cooling down exercises are useful too for the body to adjust accordingly and to relax the chest. The key is, when in doubt; always check with the doctor on your child’s body condition and suitability before embarking on any exercise regime. 

Swimming to Combat Obesity

weighing-scaleSwimming, being the low-impact sport is it, is an all-encompassing form of exercise. The buoyancy of water counteracts the force of gravity, thus making swimming easy on the knees and joints. For those who suffer from obesity, this is a big boon to their exercise routine. What better way to combat obesity than to swim?

For the over-weight who have a tough time with other forms of exercise, swimming only poses a variety of pros. While land sports are tough on the joints, swimming engages the entire body from head to foot, while increasing cardiovascular functions. It reduces the risk of joint damage while you work to lose weight. A lot like aerobics, but in the water, swimming helps improve general fitness, stimulates metabolism and helps burn fat. In fact, an hour of swimming can burn as many as 500 calories! As you reduce body fat, you build lean muscle.

To further benefit from swimming and lose weight quicker, it is imperative that one follows a healthy, nutritious diet low in sugar, fatty and processed foods. Replace your diet with lots of fresh fruits and leafy, green vegetables. Your body will thank you for the extra effort you make.

Battling obesity can be a daunting task but countless individuals have done it in the past. Be focused and disciplined with your swimming schedule and your diet. You’ll soon see the change within yourself. Get into the cool, blue water and start swimming. It’s fun, refreshing and good for you. Just remember, anyone can do it!

How to Swim In a Day

swim-in-a-dayAccording to a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most adults and children drown because of a lack of swimming ability. Furthermore, research has shown that participation in formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning amongst children and adults. Learning to swim often involves overcoming fear. All you need to do is take the plunge and you’re on your way to learning swimming. You could even be dog-paddling and floating at the shallow end of a pool, by the endof your first day. How much you achieve is entirely in your hands.

How can you learn the basics in a day?

- First get comfortable in the water. This helps build on confidence. Enjoy the first few minutes just walking around in the shallow end. Be conscious of your body’s buoyancy and movement. It will help you understand how the body works in water.

- Start with learning submersion in the shallow end, next to the perimeter of the pool. Take a deep breath and submerge your head while holding on to the edge of the pool, if that makes you more comfortable. Exhale underwater by keeping your mouth close and exhaling through the nose while humming.

- Perform a bob. Submerge yourself entirely and do the afore-mentioned routine of exhaling underwater. Bob back up to the surface and inhale. These actions in this sequence help you learn the rhythm of submerging, exhaling underwater and inhaling when you resurface.

- Learning to float builds a tremendous amount of confidence and is your first major step to swimming. Children as young as 6 months old are taught how to float so it is a very achievable task. Start with floating on your back. You could hold a kickboard to your chest at first. Simply lean back, lift your feet, lean your head backwards while focussing on a point in the sky or ceiling and stretch your feet slightly outwards. Try and hold this position for five seconds.

- Try floating on your belly by standing in shallow water, leaning forward, lifting your feet from the bottom of the pool and stretching your arms out to the side. Hold your breath and allow your face to be submerged for five seconds.

Now that you have gone through the process of familiarising yourself with the water and learning to float, you can move on to kicking and paddling.

How to kick and paddle in the water?

- Start with holding on to the edge of the pool, extending your elbows and lifting your feet to a 180 degree angle. Extend your legs, point your toes and start kicking your legs in a scissor motion, only slightly allowing your knees to bend as they would naturally. As you get comfortable with this movement, slowly leave the pool edge and keep this motion going for a few seconds more. This is how you will learn to propel through the water.

- Practice holding your breath and blowing bubbles out the nose while underwater. When you need to resurface to breathe, try tilting your head to one side, further submerging one ear and opening the other to the water’s surface. Take a breath and turn our face back into the water.

- Stand with your back to the wall while stretching out your arms and holding the kickboard in front of you. Take a gentle push off the wall by lifting your feet and pushing away. Start with the scissor-kicks as you drift away from the wall. If you’re comfortable enough to practice breathing while carrying on with the motion, submerge your head, exhale underwater while blowing out bubbles and tilt your head when you need to inhale.

- Use a water noodle under your armpits to start paddling with your arms. Kick with your feet off the wall. As you propel forward, start with the scissor-kicks and start paddling with your hands and arms.

- Now try the afore-mentioned exercise without the water noodle. Push off the wall, scissor kick with your legs and paddle with your arms.

Very soon you’ll be swimming, even if it’s only a short distance. With enough practice, swimming will come to you like second nature. Happy swimming!

Help! My Child is Afraid of Drowning

drowningBeing afraid of the water is commonplace and it happens with the best of us, children and adults alike. Overcoming such fears take time and more importantly, require patience and perseverance. Such fears are very real and should not be scoffed at. The fear of drowning even overwhelms one in a shallow pool but this fear can be vanquished completely. For starters, always let the coach know about your child’s fear and if possible, how it came about. This helps the coach tackle the Swimming Lessons effectively. They can tackle the lessons with a different approach focussing more on learning to ‘work’ with the water. This journey of the learning process is more important than the end result and allows the child to tackle Swimming one task at a time, with bite-size tasks to work on.

How can you tackle the fear of drowning?

Start with smaller milestones rather than looking at the big picture from the moment ‘go!’ Allow your child to start practice in a shallow pool while staying close to the steps or the border. Be patient with your child and only move to the middle of the pool once familiarity and confidence sets in. The learning process cannot be sped-up or forced. Allow the child to learn to float first, while practicing relaxed breathing in the water. Give them a kickboard so they feel secure and let them slowly build on their confidence. Start with floating on the back as it’s a simpler floating technique. When a child is gripped by fear, they tend to clench their muscles rather than letting their muscles relax. Iterate to them about loosening their bodies and relaxing their muscles. This allows one to swim with ease and more naturally. Tensing their muscles only makes moving their limbs all that more difficult. Finally, turn the pool into a playground and let the child forget about having to learn for a while. Help them ease up in the water by throwing a ball and encouraging them to reach out for it. You could even play a simple game of ‘Tag’.

Overcoming the fear of drowning is very achievable and the sooner you work on it, the better. Now, go help your children enjoy the swimming pool!

Cheering Your Child On

cheering-child-onSwimming is a fun activity but sometimes, even kids have their moods. While children are receptive to learning, they too have their days when they want to skip a class or get away without making an effort. At these times, a parent’s coaxing, conviction and cheering comes into play.

Being indulgent with your kids poses unnecessary challenges. It also opposes the teachings conducted by a swimming coach. Often enough, some parents give in to their child’s demands or tantrums. What is required of parents is a steadfast attitudethat leans to learning as much as possible while enjoying the time spent on the activity. Kids need to be encouraged to get into the pool and learn together as a group. A parent’s motivation gets the child to want to do more, learn more and enjoy the challenges in the process. Enthusiasm is contagious and the moment a parent strives for the best without cutting corners, so does the child.

Some parents hold their kids back by telling coaches their child doesn’t need to learn ‘so well’ and just needs to swim to save their own life. This mindset is conflicting with the swimming lessons and the coach’s teachings. This is when a coach is left in limbo, wondering whether to teach all the way or not. Unfortunately, parents want to see their kids do well but forget to play a positive part in their child’s learning. This mindset de-motivates a child.

There are some parents who are very encouraging, standing at the sidelines, cheering their kids along. The fact that they enjoy their kids’ lessons allows for that enthusiasm to spill over in the child’s activities too. This attitude also aids in building the child’s confidence.

At the end of the day, parents want to see their children achieve. Encourage learning and be enthusiastic in order for your child to learn effectively. Urge them to give their best shot and do their swimming lessons whole-heartedly. This serves as a positive in other areas of life too. Little life-teachings like these go a long way to mould a child’s attitude and personality.

Cheer your child on. It’s good fun for you and them, both!

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by Αεροπορικα Εισητηρια