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
A Highly Accessible Sport
Swimming is a highly accessible sport regardless of your location, financial situation or physical ability. It’s one of the few sports where you can participate from a young age right up until your senior years. You certainly don’t need to be a competitive swimmer to enjoy the many lifelong benefits that the sport offers.
Many swimmers get their start at local public pools, where lessons are affordable (and financial support may be available) and the only thing you need is a swimsuit and goggles. As girls become more advanced or if they choose to become competitive swimmers then they will need to invest in more equipment and specialized coaching. This is true of every sport, but the extremely low barriers and cost to get started with swimming are one of the things that make it such a great sport for young girls to take part in.
A Whole Body Strength Building Activity
You may have heard about the importance of multi-sport training for youth to help prevent injuries from overusing certain muscles and leaving others underdeveloped. Swimming, however, is one of the few “all-over” workouts. It engages almost every major muscle group, including the arms, legs, torso and stomach.
By toning and developing such a wide range of muscles, swimming can help prevent the injuries that can occur in youth who specialize in a sport from a younger age. It can also contribute to an overall improvement in coordination, flexibility, balance and posture.
Burns Calories and Develops Endurance
Swimming may be a leisurely activity for some, but it can also be an intense workout with plenty of benefits.
Compared to other activities, swimming burns a lot of calories. For example, one hour of vigorous lap swimming can burn as many as 715 calories, while running for the same amount of time at 5 mph will only burn 606 calories (Source: Swimming World Magazine).
Whether you’re doing a shorter distance race in a pool or a longer swim in open water, swimming requires a great deal of cardiovascular endurance. Training helps to develop this over time and contributes to helping girls maintain a healthy weight, heart and lungs.
Low Impact Workout
The buoyancy provided by water while swimming doesn’t decrease the intensity of the workout, but it does lower the impact and stress on your muscles and joints. This contributes to preventing injuries from stress and overuse.
As such, this also makes swimming a great sport for girls who have experienced an injury, whether to help with rehabilitation and cross-training or a new activity to embark on if they can no longer participate in their old sport of choice.
Mental Benefits of Swimming
Improves Mood and Stress Levels
The benefits of swimming for young girls go far beyond the physical ones. Exercise in general, as little as 20 minutes per week, has been proven to lower stress and anxiety levels.
Exercise also releases endorphins which contribute to improved moods. Not to mention, how great does it feel to master a new skill or achieve a personal best time?
Builds Confidence and Social Wellbeing
Through mastery of new skills and accomplishing goals, swimming is a great way for girls to build their confidence and self-esteem. In fact, early evidence from a study by Griffith University showed that swimmers tended to be more confident than their same-age, non-swimming peers (Source: The Sydney Morning Herald).
Despite what it may seem, it is also an inherently social sport through taking lessons with their peers, training on a team, working with coaches and becoming part of the community at their local pool. This gives girls the chance to develop positive relationships, connect with role models and enjoy the benefits of connecting with others and being part of a supportive community.
Teaches Team Building and Goal Setting
Swimming for young girls can be especially beneficial when instruction, coaching or training is involved. Through taking part in structured training programs, setting goals for themselves and doing the work required to meet them, girls learn a lot about team building and goal-setting.
These are skills that will not only serve them well in swimming but in life through school, other extra-curriculars and future employment.
Whether it’s for fun or competition, the physical, mental and emotional benefits of swimming for young girls are undeniable. Proper instruction and training truly builds swimming and life skills that will last a lifetime.
As the world’s first all girls swimming camp, we offer a premier training experience for youth swimmers. With our instructional and competitive programs designed specifically for girls, Camp Ak-O-Mak is the perfect summer swimming camp for girls to develop and flourish as young women and athletes.
For the young women at Camp Ak-O-Mak, they find all of these benefits in one swimming camp environment: the skills training, the inspiration to succeed and the lifelong friendships. Learn more about our world-class summer swimming camp today and register your daughter for a summer she won’t forget!