By Shane A. Harding
Director of Aquatics,
Salem Community Center
As the cooler temperatures arrive parents may be searching for ways to keep their children active when it is difficult to get them outside. The thought of swim lessons understandably doesn't cross the mind of most, but plunging into a swimming pool in the fall or winter may not be quite as taboo if given second thought.
Most fall and winter activities in the Salem area rely on the weather. Soccer can sometimes be hindered by the dreaded late fall rain, and yes it pains me to say, even snow. We also know with our unpredictable Ohio weather that when the snow is supposed to fly, it often doesn't. That makes activities that rely on snow such as skiing and sled riding a play-it-by-ear option.
Fortunately indoor pools are always open and kept at a cozy, summer-like 84 degrees throughout the fall and winter. Swim lessons are very important for a child's safety around water. Giving children the skill set to be independent swimmers proves undeniably beneficial in drowning prevention. Not swimming in the winter does in fact take a toll on a child's swimming skill set.
Imagine a child taking an approximate eight-month break in anything. Surely, when it comes time to pick that activity back up they will initially struggle to get back to the level at which they once were. With swimming, that struggle could prove dangerous.
Another benefit of swimming lessons in the fall or winter is that it gives children a chance for zero impact aerobic exercise. This is a great way to get children to exercise and have fun at the same time. Swimming also requires children to use a whole different muscle set than other activities, potentially enhancing future skills in other sports.
Swimming lessons in the winter can be a welcome addition to what can be the most monotonous season of the year. For kids it has the allure of the unexpected and the excitement of doing something that not everyone else is doing. I truly believe that it would take very little, if any, coaxing from parents to get a child to swim in the winter.
Finally, fall and winter swim lessons are an excellent head start to summer swimming. If lessons are taken with some regularity out of season, your child may have a better chance at actually enjoying it as a sport in the summer. Rather than seeing summer as a training time, young swimmers who have taken winter lessons can look forward to a season that doesn't only consist of learning how. If you have plans for the summer that consist of a pool or beach (who doesn't), potential stress and worry may be alleviated with a few months of lessons.
The Salem Community Center will host another session of the popular Swim Lesson program beginning on Oct. 6 and running every Saturday, ending on Nov. 24. Six Learn to Swim levels are available, along with a Mommy and Me level for infants and their parent. Our instructors are American Red Cross WSI certified with years of experience. Cost is $70 for non-members and $55 for members. A multiple child discount is available. If you have any questions or wish to sign up, call the Salem Community Center at 330-332-5885.
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