Learning to swim is important, no matter how old you are. Not only are there incredible health benefits to swimming, but being able to swim could save your life someday. If you’re already a beginner or curious about how to start your swimming lessons, here is a guide to what you can expect on your journey.
Benefits of Learning to Swim
Swimming offers several health benefits. It is a great overall workout for your cardiovascular and respiratory health, and it can help develop or improve stamina, flexibility, and muscle strength. For those who have arthritis, swimming and water-based exercises can help ease joint pain. Swimming is also helpful for those looking for low-impact exercises for weight loss. Many people enjoy aquatic exercises because being in the water takes the pressure off of joints somewhat. Aquatic exercises can even improve the bone health of women who are post-menopausal.
Swimming not only has a positive impact on your physical health. It can have a great effect on your mental and emotional health too. It could potentially help combat stress, reduce anxiety and depression, and even help you sleep. Swimming may also improve your coordination, balance, and posture. Learning new skills in your adulthood, like swimming, has been found to help battle cognitive decline associated with aging, like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Overcoming a Fear of Swimming
Swimming is, more often than not, a fun activity. To help overcome your fear of the water if you have one, work with a skilled swim coach who can take things slowly during your classes. Having a coach who’s sympathetic to your fears will help calm your nerves as you tackle the water. Start in the shallow part of the water and practice with different flotation devices. Remind yourself that you will be safe because your instructor is nearby.
Another key factor in overcoming your fear of the water is practicing relaxation techniques. Taking deep breaths and visualizing success can help calm your nerves. As you learn to swim, remember that this is a marathon, not a sprint. Take this goal one step at a time, and do not compare your swim journey to anyone else’s. Once you do learn skills in your beginner lessons, you can move forward with adult intermediate and advanced classes to build on your momentum.
What Happens During an Adult Beginner Swimming Class?
A beginner swimming class will give you the opportunity to develop and improve your swimming skills in a safe and controlled environment. You will want to make sure you have a comfortable swimsuit to wear, as well as goggles for your eyes and a swim cap to protect your hair. When you first begin, you will also likely use a pool noodle or swim board to keep yourself afloat during your swimming lessons.
As you get started, you can work with a trained instructor who may ask questions about any health conditions and swimming experience you have. They’ll want to understand your fears and goals before you start lessons. That instructor may also take you for a brief tour around the perimeter of the pool, highlighting the locations of the ladders, stair cases, lifeguard chair, and other features. All of this is important because you want to be comfortable with your environment and your instructor in order to learn to swim.
Over the course of your swimming lessons, your instructor can teach you the basic aquatic skills you need. These may include skills like water entry and exit, breath control, submerging, floating, and treading. You will likely learn different swimming strokes and turns to build your endurance in the water. Once you have mastered your beginner skills, you can move forward with adult intermediate and advanced classes.
How to Find Swimming Lessons for Adults
There are different resources available for adults trying to find swimming lessons. The Red Cross has a wide database of available classes across the country, as well as a free swim app. Red Cross Swim helps both children and adults learn about water safety and provides suggestions for family fun in the pool.
Other organizations such as U.S. Masters Swimming understand the importance of adults learning to swim. The USMS regularly trains and educates swim instructors across the country to help guide adult learners. The organization partners with USA Swimming and the USA Swimming Foundation to provide grants for adult learn-to-swim programs in the U.S.
With a quick Google search, you can find several different swimming schools in your area that likely offer adult swimming lessons. You can also reach out to your local YMCA, recreational center or pool to see if there are adult swimming lessons available.