Proswim School

Benefits




Why is swimming Benefits to children?

Physical activity has both short-term and long-term benefits on children's health. For children and adolescents to physically develop in an optimal manner, they need to practice a variety of sports, each, if possible for a long period of time. These activities should be practiced many times a week and should have the following objectives:

  • Strengthening the bones by practicing activities that apply weight to them. For example, swimming, running, jumping and hopping particularly in appropriate games.
  • Stimulating the cardiovascular system by practicing sports that enhance endurance, such as jogging, swimming or skiing (cross-country) in appropriate games, or daily activities like riding the bike.
  • Strengthening the muscles by practicing a variety of sports such as mountain climbing, and suspensions, sports that use the body's own weight or specific weight lifting exercises for adolescents after making sure they were well instructed.
  • Maintaining flexibility by practicing gymnastics and stretching in sports, in daily life or in the form of appropriate games.
  • Improving skills with a variety of sports and with specific exercises during games, sports or daily life.
  • The most important short-term effect is that sports help fight obesity in children, an illness that is becoming more widespread since 1980 (Flegal 1999). Not only obese children risk staying obese throughout their adulthood, but the sooner it happens the more likely it will remain until adulthood (Med Watch 2000).
  • The benefits of practicing organized sports seem to affect more than the physical condition of a child. Studies have shown that young active children are less likely to manifest sedentary behavior (Thorlindsson 1999). Team sports can provide a healthy environment for a child where he can adapt and develop. .
  • Personality characteristics, such as achievement, motivation, self-confidence, independence, and one's perceived ability to be active (ie, self-efficacy), are also associated with physical activity levels (Reynold et al. 1990)..



The role of schools in enhancing physical activity

Physical activity has both short-term and long-term benefits on children's health. For children and adolescents to physically develop in an optimal manner, they need to practice a variety of sports, each, if possible for a long period of time. These activities should be practiced many times a week and should have the following objectives:

  • The physical education session improves a child's self esteem
  • Pleasure during a physical education session and its effect on physical practice outside of school.
  • The role of schools in encouraging children to practice sports
  • Public Health Implications of schools



Role of parents in encouraging & choosing the right physical activity

Definitely, the feelings of satisfaction and pleasure are probably the mains factors that influence a child's decision in practicing a physical activity (Matens 1996), but the environment of the family also has an impact. In fact, the family can strongly influence a child's desire to participate in an organized physical activity, and its support motivates the child to continue during childhood and adolescence (Martin et al. 1999). In other words, parents that communicate to their children the importance and value of a physical activity will be able to positively influence them on the long run. For example, in 1998, approximately 54 % of canadian children ( 5 - 14 years) that live in biparental or in a single-parent families - almost 2,2 millions - regularly practice an organized physical activity. Moreover, 48% of those active children have practiced more than one activity during the year. It is important to mention that a general social survey in Canada (Offord et coll. 1998) showed that soccer (31%), swimming (24%) and hockey (24%) are the most popular sports in children aged from 5 to 14 years old.

  • The structure of the family influences the children's participation in an organized sport
  • If parents practice physical activities, their children will be more likely to practice sports themselves
  • The parents' activities and income are essential predictors of their children's participation in an organized sport.