We often focus on swimming and water safety as important skills for kids to learn, but fail to realize that these are both subjects that matter for adults as well. In an effort to raise awareness for how important it is for adults to learn how to be safe in the water, The Swimming Saves Lives Foundation has named April Adult Learn-to-Swim Month. In the spirit of Adult Learn-to-Swim month, I thought it would be a great time to talk about why learning to swim as an adult can change your life for the better.
As the Swim Lesson Supervisor, I have been helping adults of all ability levels meet their water-related goals for the last 4 years and can say with confidence that deciding to take swim lessons as an adult rarely looks the same for any two people. I have met individuals with a wide variety of desires and reasons to get in the water and each is just as important as the next. Below are just a few of the circumstances I have encountered, but remember that no matter what your personal objective may be, it is always the right time to learn something new.
Learn for Yourself
If you are an adult of any age and never learned to swim as a child, there is no reason to be shy and certainly no reason to feel as though it is too late. In the last 3 months alone we have had over 25 participants in our beginner adult swim lessons alone and over 80 in the last year. Most of these adults had never taken any swim lessons before and many had never had more than a few experiences in the water at all. On the first day of class, asking the participants why they chose to do the lessons, the answers were overwhelmingly about wanting to do something they have never done. Many of them have never had the opportunity to learn how to swim and now that they do, they are eager to make the most of it. Some arrive timid or anxious, while others are unafraid. Everyone is ready to absorb as much information as they can. It doesn’t matter their age or how inexperienced they are; they are just excited to be learning something new.
Learn for Your Kids
If you have children and haven’t realized this already, the feelings your kids have about swimming will be greatly influenced by your own opinions about water. I tell parents of young children all the time not to express fear or panic should their child get too much water in their face or accidentally slip under the water for a second. This is because the child will immediately internalize your reaction and if it happens more than once, they will begin to develop fearful feelings about having water in their face. Just as many adults have signed up for lessons looking to develop a new skill for themselves, I have also had numerous participants who feel they need to learn not only for themselves, but for their families. It is important to them that they know how to be safe in the water so they can act as positive role models for their children and teach them how to be safe and I couldn’t agree more!
Learn for Fitness
Adult swim classes aren’t just for beginners. If you already enjoy the water, know how to swim, and your kids are expert swimmers, is it possible you could become more involved in the sport for fitness? Swimming is an excellent, low-impact exercise that works your entire body and is great for your heart and lungs. If you find that running is hard on your body or feel that you need a new kind of workout to switch things up, the pool is the place to go. If you are a runner or a cyclist and want a new challenge, consider heading to the pool, building up your endurance and putting your new skills together to compete in a triathlon. Maybe you hate every other form of exercise you have encountered, but haven’t tried the pool yet. If you fall into that last category, I strongly recommend giving swimming a try as it is truly unlike any other form of exercise. I was in that boat not very long ago where I hated to exercise, but the love I found for swimming lead me to where I am now, training for my first full Ironman triathlon.
Whether any of these reasons speak to you or you have water-related aspirations of your own, it is important to keep in mind that you are not alone in your journey. There are adults in this community of all ages and ability levels working to meet their goals and this month you could be among them.