Encouraging People to Swim Is Easier Than You Think
How many times have conversations with swim-lesson parents gone something like this?
Parent: My son loves the water. I’m so glad I put him in lessons at a young age.
You: That’s awesome to hear. We’re glad, too! Now, how about you? Do you swim?
Parent: Oh, no — not since I was a kid. It takes too much effort, and I don’t have enough time. Plus, I was never very good at it.
And that is your cue to encourage someone who has spent years away from the pool to jump back in and begin to develop a swimming routine.
Needs some supporting evidence? Here you go:
1. Swimming improves your health and fitness.
You already know the benefits of water-based exercise, but do you share that information with people who don’t know? A recent post by Speedo on the U.S. Masters Swimming website listed several rewards of swimming for exercise, including consistent resistance and reduced impact to help build strength and boost cardiovascular activity. The National Institutes of Health reports that a new study suggests increased levels of leisure-time physical activity such as swimming can help prevent against 13 types of cancer, including liver cancer, kidney cancer, and myeloid leukemia. And Longevity magazine cites swimming as a way for allergy sufferers to seek relief — particularly if using an indoor pool, where humid air helps clear sinus passages.
2. Swimming helps you lose weight.
According to Men’s Fitness, swimming burns 750 calories or more per hour. Of course, new swimmers probably won’t stay in the pool that long, but with that kind of weight loss potential, the burned calories add up quickly. Unlike most other forms of exercise, swimming works the entire body. That’s why the American Heart Association claims that 30 to 60 minutes of swimming four to six days a week can help people lose weight while also reducing the risk of stroke, diabetes and heart disease.
3. Swimming enhances your social life.
As practically any kid who has been on a swim team will tell you, the pool can be a social place. Whether swimming laps or joining an aquatic group exercise program, sharing the water with others leads to conversations and, potentially, new friendships. Some communities offer adult swimming classes, and local Masters Swimming programs allow adults to practice and socialize together in a controlled environment. And remember, “masters” does not mean “experts.” According to the U.S. Masters Swimming website, “the word ‘masters’ was first applied to adults who participated in track and field and was later adopted in organized swimming. Masters simply means 18 and older.” Plus, once you see someone else your own age in a swimsuit, a certain level of intimacy has already been achieved —so you might as well start talking with them.
4. Swimming doesn’t discriminate based on age.
Kids who begin swimming this summer will be able to do so for the rest of their lives, and a 40-year-old mother of three can jump in the pool and start a swimming routine that could last for the next 40 or more years. That doesn’t happen in football, basketball, and many other sports. Older adults who swim reap such benefits as improved health and reduced incidence of injury as they age — allowing for greater mobility and independence. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that water-based exercise improves use of affected joints in arthritis sufferers without worsening symptoms, as well as decreases pain caused by osteoarthritis. It also improves or maintains the bone health of post-menopausal women.
5. Swimming allows you to achieve greater total happiness.
Aquatic exercise also improves mental health, according to the CDC, by brightening the moods of both men and women. The organization also states that “for people with fibromyalgia, it can decrease anxiety, and exercise therapy in warm water can decrease depression and improve mood. Water-based exercise can improve the health of mothers and their unborn children and has a positive effect on mothers’ mental health.” Furthermore, parents of children with developmental disabilities say they find that recreational activities such as swimming improve family connections.
Share this info with your patrons, and they won’t be the only happy ones; you’ll be feeling pretty good, too, when you start seeing several new faces in the pool on a regular basis.
Michael Popke is an award-winning journalist and owner of Two Lakes Media Group, a writing, editing and content marketing company based in the Madison, Wis., area. For 14 years, he was managing editor of Athletic Business, the leading business-to-business magazine and website for athletic, fitness and recreation professionals. He also is a swim dad; has coached baseball, basketball and softball; worked as a USA Swimming stroke-and-turn official; and is an avid high school sports and aquatics safety supporter. He would like to swim faster. For more information, please visit his website at www.twolakesmedia.com and follow him on Twitter @michaeljpopke and @TwoLakesMedia.