Swimming has huge benefits and is something that is accessible for people of all ages. It allows you to get a full-body workout while also building on coordination, motor skills and can even be a great way to meet other people who enjoy the water. In this blog, we’re exploring the benefits of swimming for people with assistive needs and why you should consider trying it as a new activity.
Swimming helps to build many skills
Swimming is one of those sports that is a quintessential part of the Australian lifestyle, not to mention an important safety skill to have. As swimming is an individual sport, it allows people of all abilities to challenge themselves without feeling the pressure of helping a team win or feeling overwhelmed with meeting too many new people at once. Swimming is a great sport to take up, as not only do you get a great workout in, but it also helps you build a range of skills as well.
1. Builds confidence
There’s nothing better than feeling confident in your ability to do something – and do it well. Swimming helps build confidence, especially for people with assistive needs, as the repetitive motion of moving your arms and legs means is simple to pick up and there is a stroke to suit every budding swimmer. Swimming allows you to move your body freely, giving you the confidence to move how you want to, boosting your self-esteem as you power through the water.
2. Different levels of intensity
Swimming is a wonderful sport for people of all abilities as there are no rules as to how fast or strong you need to swim. This means that for elderly people, those just learning to swim or who are getting used to the water, you can take it as slow or as fast as you need. The different levels of intensity also allow you to build on your fitness and swimming ability, meaning that you can have no experience swimming and still jump in the water and enjoy the activity.
3. Helps to build muscle and motor skills
For people with assistive needs, swimming provides the opportunity to move in a way that is not restricted by gravity. As swimming is a low-impact sport, people of all abilities, even with significant motor or muscle limitations, can build and strengthen their muscles where they might not have been able to do so before. Swimming also requires a certain amount of coordination, to move your arm and legs at the same time, so it also helps increase coordination responses.
4. Helps build social connections
Although swimming is a single sport, there are many ways to meet new people and help build social connections. Joining a small swim group, like a lesson group or swim squad, is an easy way to meet people who share a common interest. It can also help children with assistive needs learn a range of social behaviours such as sharing equipment, taking turns, patience while waiting for classmates and making friends through the process. Sport helps those with assistive needs get out of their comfort zone and mix with people and situations that help strengthen their everyday social confidence.
5. Fun and relaxing therapy
For many people, the water is a soothing environment that can have a range of calming benefits. Although swimming can be a vigorous activity, it can also be a time to relax and unwind. Floating in a pool or having a light swim can do wonders for your body, as well as your mental and emotional wellbeing. After your paddle, you’ll feel refreshed and ready to take on whatever comes next.
There are also many benefits associated with cold water swimming, including boosting your immunity, improved circulation and reduced stress. A dip in the pool or even the ocean can invigorate and transform your mind and body, not to mention the serenity felt just by being out and about in nature.
Tips for getting started swimming
If you’re wanting to get into swimming, but are not sure how, there are a few ways to get started:
1. Class swimming: If you don’t feel confident entering the pool by yourself, have limited experience in the water or for young children, class swimming is one way to get started safely. Many swimming clubs offer smaller classes and even one-on-one classes. Some clubs also offer a range of specialised classes for specific disabilities, like Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome and many others. Swimming classes also give you the option to meet like-minded people while you enjoy the water.
2. Private swimming lessons: Private lessons can help build your confidence in the water while being guided by a swim coach. This allows people with assistive needs to learn at their own pace, and gain confidence and independence in basic swimming skills. These skills help to prevent accidents when around the water and give them the ability to move their bodies freely in the water.
3. Independent swimming: If you can swim and feel comfortable in the water then go to your local pool and jump straight in. Many public pools have 50m swimming lap pools, with enough space to allow people to just get in and start. You’ll want to make sure that the pool has necessary access points, like wheelchair access ramps, disability change rooms and if needed, a disability ramp to get in and out of the pool. You may have to pay a small fee to enter the pool so it might be worth seeing if the pool has a membership or a disability discount.
Adaptive swimwear and accessories
When looking to get into swimming, you are going to need swimwear that feels comfortable and secure. At Averee, we stock a wide variety of swimwear from leading industry brands that allow you to swim with confidence thanks to their adaptive technology. Our swimwear for kids and adults is created with a leakproof protection barrier and a range of fashionable and fun designs to suit any wearer. Remember to pick swimwear that you feel comfortable and empowered in, that will support you in the water so you can swim with ease and enjoy.
We also stock a range of swimming accessories designed to provide support to those with assistive needs while swimming and moving in the water. For those new to swimming or who don’t have a high tolerance for vigorous activity, our range of floatation devices helps give your body a rest after a swim. They can be used after a swim to help reduce fatigue or while swimming to provide extra support while in the water.