Humans have been swimming for thousands of years; ancient paintings depict humans swimming using a style similar to the doggy paddle and the breaststroke. While swimming back then may have been for leisurely or sanitary purposes, present-day swimming has taken on a variety of uses. Swimming has evolved into an international sport that has offered some of the most exciting moments in recent Olympic history. For us non-Olympians, swimming offers a wide variety of benefits as part of a healthy, active lifestyle.

Physical Benefits of Swimming

Being engaged in sports activities is good for everyone – and it applies at every age, and every stage of life. But swimming is actually much more than a sport, it helps develop physical strength, it enhances physical fitness and it’s always an enjoyable recreational activity. For those concerned with weight management, swimming can be an ideal workout, with the added benefit of reducing the potential for obesity.

For youth, swimming is one of the few “all-over” workouts – it engages all the main muscle groups, it contributes to the body’s flexibility and it improves coordination.

When compared to swimming, similar exercises like running or cycling don’t offer the same level of exercise for your body. Both of these common exercises primarily work your legs, but don’t offer the total body workout that swimming does; not to mention that swimming is also much easier on your body.

Swimming and other water sports provide the body with a physically supportive environment, thanks to the property of buoyancy. The human body is ever-so-slightly buoyant in water, meaning that your body’s weight is supported by water when you’re swimming. This reduces the strain on your muscles and joints, making it one of the best activities in terms of injury prevention.

For both young children and older adults, this makes swimming an ideal exercise choice. It’s a safe form of physical activity that helps to prevent injury through a supportive physical environment and helps to strengthen and build muscles, which also functions to prevent injury.

Mental Benefits of Swimming

The positive benefits of swimming go far beyond the sport itself.  The cardiovascular system is benefited, personal stamina and strength are increased and finally, body flexibility and posture are improved. Not to be overlooked, of course, is the fun! And whether it’s an individual effort or a team effort, young swimmers can develop their skills while enjoying themselves in a supportive and inclusive sports environment.

Part of a healthy lifestyle is to develop not only physical fitness, but sound mental health as well. Swimming is therapeutic for many as a more meditative experience. The isolation and calm that moving through the water provide are beneficial as it helps relax the brain and refresh the mind for the day’s activities. Many business leaders and psychologists point to their morning swim as one of the best activities to help them regain their focus and to help inspire moments of creative inspiration.

Swimming at Camp Ak-O-Mak

Swimming for young girls can be especially beneficial when instruction, coaching or training is involved. At Camp Ak-O-Mak, our swimming program is designed specifically for girls. There’s no sports facility that can compare – for girls and young women at any swim level. It’s an environment where girls can be totally focused on enhancing their swimming.

Camp Ak-O-Mak is regarded as a world-class training facility. Instructors and coaches train young women at every swim level from novices to seasoned competitors. It’s a complete swim program that focuses on technical skills, fitness and athleticism, and water safety. And it’s a program that provides every girl with benefits for the future – physically, mentally, and emotionally.

There’s much to be said for an all girls overnight swim camp. Apart from the clear benefits of athletics, the girls are far less worried about looks, and far more focused on swimming and sports. This is a camp environment that builds self-esteem and confidence while providing a backdrop for young girls to explore personal issues. And in the end, it’s about building character.

Whether it’s for fun or fitness, casual or competitive, swimming can bring long term benefits for girls young and old. Proper instruction and training builds and swimming skills that last a lifetime.

For the young women at Camp Ak-O-Mak, they find all of these benefits in one camp environment: the skills training, the inspiration to succeed, and the life-long friendships. And for every young woman, it’s about having fun in the Canadian summer sun.