Swimming and water aerobics are safe and effective ways to lose weight and maintain strength and agility, but not everyone has time to go to the beach or the pool. In fact, many consumers are now deciding to try an at-home approach when it comes to overall health and fitness.
Among the many decisions that need to be made, the first should be whether a swim spa will best meet your needs, or if a conventional swimming pool is a better fit. If you are wondering just what a swim spa is, read through this quick guide regarding the uses and benefits of a swim spa versus a swimming pool.
A swim spa is smaller than a regular swimming pool. At one end, a current is generated that you can swim against for exercise or rehabilitation. You regulate the current strength according to your needs and ability. The current can also be used for resistance training, and is an excellent way to recover after an injury or to help alleviate pain. When the current is not turned on, your swim spa can be used as a regular pool or for a relaxing soak.
If you envision poolside barbecues with lots of people playing or lounging in the pool, then a swim spa is probably not the right choice for you. However, if your vision includes exercise or rehabilitation, a swim spa may be just what you are looking for and the swim spa cost may fit nicely into your budget.
In a swim spa, you can enjoy exercises like:
Swim spas are an excellent low-impact mode of rehabilitation for health issues such as:
Both swimming pools and swim spas are wonderful additions to any household. Check out some of the benefits that a swim spa has over a swimming pool:
There are a variety of swim spas available, but the four most common types are:
Swim spa prices will differ based on the type of swim spa you choose, as well as the size and other amenities such as a separate hot tub area.
Whether you are relaxing on a floatie in your swimming pool, or getting your daily workout in your new swim spa, remember to always practice comprehensive water safety!
In layman’s terms, when swimming or performing any kind of exercise, your heart rate increases and pumps more blood to your working muscles, providing them with necessary oxygen as well as increasing blood flow to the kidneys to rid the body of waste produced in the form of lactic acid and ethanol.
When you eat, your cardiovascular system increases blood flow to the stomach to aid in digestion and to your intestines to maintain the constriction needed to move the waste through your bowels.
Herein lies the science behind the idea that you should not immediately go swimming after eating. Your body is using increased blood flow to digest your recent meal, diverting it away from the muscles you need in order to swim.
Scientifically and biologically, that information all makes sense, but through research and observation, the idea that eating before swimming is dangerous and will lead to muscle cramps has largely been debunked.
Most experts now believe that the body has more than enough blood flow to support all organs and tissues regardless of physical activity, either voluntary (swimming) or involuntary (digestion).
If you are recreationally splashing around in the water, then eating before swimming should not be an issue. As with any strenuous exercise, a full stomach may make you uncomfortable and could lead to heartburn, vomiting, and overall malaise.
When you are enjoying a day of water-filled fun, remember the K-I-S-S concept. “Keep It Simple Swimmer!” By that we mean stick to simple carbohydrates like chips and crackers, and snack on fresh fruits and vegetables. Steer away from heavy, fatty meats, or if you just have to have that burger at the beach, try not to overeat.
If you are experiencing swimming cramps, it is probably more beneficial to look at how much you are drinking instead of how much, when, or what you are eating. Being in the sun and surf, you do not realize how much water you are losing from your body. This is exacerbated if you are consuming alcohol. Make sure you are drinking plenty of water and replacing electrolytes with a couple servings of sports drinks as well.
When deciding how long to wait after eating to swim, the answer is really quite simple. You know how you feel, so do what is within your comfort zone. If you are feeling a bit full and need a little time to digest, take a break in the shade. If you are worried about the kids going back in the pool right after lunch, tell them to stay in the shallow end for a bit where the water is not over their heads.
Can you swim after eating? Absolutely! It simply boils down to water safety and how you are feeling. To learn more of the best practices for safe swimming, check out The 411 Book from SwimJim, a terrific water safety program for you and your young water babies.
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This week we learn Safer Responses to aquatic emergencies.
Safer Response includes:
In every drowning accident, seconds count. They literally make the difference not only between life and death, but also between recovery and permanent injury. For every fatal drowning, the International Life Saving Federation as well as Lifeguards Without Borders estimates there are 6 hospitalizations. The worst of these non-fatal cases are lifelong vegetative states.
Emergency Action Plans should encompass the entire family and include:
Kids will complete and color an Emergency Action Plan with you. This additional practice reinforces what kids can do in a drowning emergency, but in also in any emergency situation.
Helping others means keeping yourself safe. Flight attendants teach us to put on our oxygen masks first. This is a cornerstone principle of every safety and rescue discipline. Anyone who helps another must keep themselves safe first, or risk a double emergency.
Nicholas and Anthony Aurilia are twins who drowned in their Melville NY home just last July. Did Nicholas go in and try to help Anthony? We will never know.
Drowning doesn’t care. Drowning doesn’t discriminate. Our exercise during National Water Safety Month help move the needle and help your family protect itself.
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Awareness and respect for the water is essential for every family member. Whether calm or choppy, natural or man-made, the drowning risk presented by water never goes away.
This week’s theme is Safer Water. We teach children to avoid dangerous situations around the water. This includes outside the house, the yard, friends’ houses and your home too.
While poolside, your children will make Water Watcher Tags. They will bring these tags them home to show and share. Use this tag to designate an adult Water Watcher when you next visit the pool, beach or lake. Water Watchers are the “designated drivers” you’re your family is swimming.
Drowning risks are everywhere. They are easy to forget. Swimming pools and hot tubs are pretty obvious. Water features in a garden or building lobby are somewhat lower-profile. Water that exists around your home and neighborhood – water you don’t even know is there or think about – is an unexpected danger.
Help your children learn to make Water Smart Choices. This includes “don’t play around water unsupervised”. Even shallow water can be dangerous. Learning awareness, making better choices and asking for help keeps everyone safer.
Whenever children are around any source of water (such as pools, rivers, lakes, bath tubs, toilets and even buckets of water), undistracted adults must provide constant and active supervision. Pediatric drownings occur most often because of failures in supervision. The multiple screens in our pocket makes distraction especially challenging. Even if a child or adult can swim very well or the water seems shallow, follow the old “swim with a buddy” rule.
Seek layers of protection at a pool. This includes:
Knowing the risks and planning for Safer Water can help prevent drowning!
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This week your children will practice essential drowning prevention and water safety skills at the pool. This experience will complement what they already learn each week in swim class.
Students will participate in the Water Safety Challenge designed especially for young kids by Stop Drowning Now, a national non-profit focused on drowning prevention education.
SwimTots through SwimWinners will wear a t-shirt in the pool for part of their lesson. If your children should ever find themselves suddenly submerged while wearing clothes, this exercise will prepare them for those sensations. They will learn how the water can weigh them down differently than a bathing suit, what it feels like, and have better sense of how to respond and act with safety.
Please remember to bring a t-shirt with you to class April 30th through May 6th, 2018. Your child will wear it in the pool. The t-shirt is an essential part of the lesson!
Your child will also practice “Reach – Throw – Don’t Go”. It is common in a water emergency for a second person to get in trouble while trying to help the first. This skill teaches your child how to avoid what is effectively a “double drowning”.
Finally, your children will learn smart behavior choices around water. These choices include understanding and following water safety and pool rules. This will be the Pool Rules coloring sheet you will see poolside. Your kid will bring this home to enjoy with the whole family.
Each student will receive a Water Safety Challenge certificate upon completion. It’s a wonderful way to anchor their experience and create a lasting lesson of safety for your child and others.
Drowning is the number one cause of death in young children. It happens in seconds. A child can lose consciousness in 30-40 seconds; permanent brain damage in as little as 2 minutes; death can happen very soon thereafter. Humans can’t make it long without air.
Remember – drowning doesn’t look like drowning. It is never like Baywatch. Drowning is silent and fast.
To learn more about Stop Drowning Now, please follow the link below or go to stopdrowningnow.com
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Drowning is the #1 cause of accidental death among children under 4. Each year, 4,500 Americans die in drowning tragedies that are almost always 100% preventable.
Water safety and drowning prevention are organic parts of SwimJim’s program all year round. We love that our work each day is dedicated to ending drowning in our lifetime. Your child is already on the path towards greater water safety with swim lessons and swimming skills. Knowing how to swim can be life-saving. But swimming alone is not enough.
Drowning is complex and always unexpected. There are 3 principles of water safety you and your family can take with you any time you are enjoying the water.
There is no “safe” when it comes to the water. Risk is always present. Avoid a false sense of security. We must teach our kids to be safer through awareness, education and action.
From April 30th through May 6th, 2018, students in our learn-to-swim and advanced programs will complete Stop Drowning Now’s – Water Safety Challenge program, so please make sure that your child brings an extra shirt with them to the pool for this activity. We will help your child learn to make safer choices when in or around water. And it will be a lot of fun!
By making safer choices, your child will learn how the risks can be drastically reduced. No one is ever “water safe” or “drown proof”. Water safety is the responsibility of the whole family. Drowning doesn’t look like drowning. Drowning happens when you least expect it.
Here are some of the important topics we will cover this month:
April is National Autism Awareness Month. The Autism Society notes “National Autism Awareness Month is an excellent opportunity to promote autism spectrum disorder (ASD) awareness, autism acceptance and to draw attention to the tens of thousands facing an ASD diagnosis each year.”
ASD kids respond particularly well to swimming and thus swim lessons. But as for every child, drowning risk is the first and foremost consideration. Water is a nonnative environment, and drowning is silent, fast and very complex.
The National Autism Society reports that children and adults with ASD are often attracted to water sources such as pools, ponds, and lakes; drowning is the leading cause of death for a child or adult who has autism. There is a 91 percent chance that a fatal accident impacting a child with autism 14 and younger that wanders away from their home, school, or caregiver will be caused by drowning. It is truly grave and serious. These facts bring a lot of ASD kids to swim programs of all kinds everywhere.
We sat down with some SwimJim families impacted by ASD to hear what swim lessons mean to them. When asked why her son Mikey should learn how to swim, our parent Sheryl responded
“I have a strong belief that every child needs to learn to swim for safety. This is even more important for Mikey with his limited receptive and expressive language as there is a great fear he will not understand dangers or be able to call out for help if he is in a dangerous situation. I also hope for a secondary benefit for Mikey in the sensory input the water offers him, as he tends to be under reactive and needs extra stimulation. This also makes the safety issue more imperative as he is drawn to water.”
Children with ASD typically have a limited sense of danger. And like most people, they have an innate and ancient affinity for the water. When you put those two things together, the risk of a drowning incident dramatically increases. That is why we believe it is imperative to teach children with ASD to swim.
Other than safety, there are many other benefits in a child with ASD learning to swim. In Swimming with Autism, the authors Tammy Anderson-Lee and Cathy Ball explain that
“The hydrostatic pressure (water surrounding the body), turbulence (movement of the water) and viscosity (the thickness of the water) are all properties of water which help to aid a person with sensory awareness challenges and autism spectrum disorders. When the body is submerged in the water, the hydrostatic pressure is very calming.” People without ASD can relate to this.
The book continues
“Aquatic activities can also help to improve fine and gross motor movement, coordination, independence, attention span, language development, as well as be a way for children to learn the hazards in and around the aquatic environment.”
“The benefits [of Jason learning how to swim] are multiple. Jason learns how to interact with people in a new setting, how to follow directions, and how to gain greater control over his body. It is a healthy form of exercise that seems to leave him much calmer afterwards.
I like to think, too, that it gives him a feeling of accomplishment as he makes slow but steady progress in his swimming. It also gives us something that we can do together as a family and that Jason can do with his cousins and friends. Besides the therapeutic reasons discussed above, it is also important to us that Jason knows how to be safe in the water. Like many autistic children, he is drawn to water, and we want to make sure that if he were to fall in to a pool or pond, he would know how to swim, even in water over his head.”
Through swim lessons, we help the student accomplish what some ASD practitioners believe is impossible. We set goals these students can achieve and gently push them to self-challenge a little more each week. As a result, they are able surpass successive milestones and develop self-esteem. Working with every child is the SwimJim Team’s greatest privilege, but the results achieved by our students with ASD are particularly and deeply rewarding.
Esther has three children, one with ASD. Esther says
“The most important benefit of knowing how to swim — for Natasha and for my other two children — is safety. To me, knowing how to swim is a necessary life skill for being safe around water. Swimming also brings Natasha health benefits. It keeps her active and athletic and gives her great, effective, regular exercise.
For Natasha in particular, as a person with autism, learning to put together the steps necessary to do the crawl, the backstroke, the elementary backstroke, to dive is important to her general ability to learn to follow instructions, to repeat and string together steps and to connect with people in different environments.
If my main goals were safety and exercise when I first started Natasha in lessons (she was four months old then, and showed no signs of autism), I continue them for those reasons and because swimming makes her happy. Period. She loves being in the water and being a swimmer. And swimming brings her peace, a sense of calm and a clear sense of accomplishment. What more could I ask for?”
SwimJim is a dedicated advocate for inclusive class environments for all our students. Those with autism spectrum disorders are no different and receive love, acceptance and appreciation. We are very lucky to have them in our classes and to build the relationships and results with them that all of us enjoy.
What are your experiences with ASD and swimming? Does a friend or family member have ASD? How might swimming help them. We would love to hear from you. Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org
Not all wetsuits are created equal. Here are the important features to look for when you are purchasing a wetsuit, along with a few of the best picks for different water sports.
There are a few different types wetsuits. A full wetsuit covers everything but the neck and head, wrists and hands, and ankles and feet. You can add a hood, gloves, and booties if you want entire coverage. A shorty or spring wetsuit has shortened arms and legs. A short John has short legs and no sleeves. A long-john is a full suit but without sleeves. Other options include wetsuit jackets or vests which are great for swimming and doing water aerobics in pools.
When it comes to choosing your personal style, more and more designers are looking to add color and sass to their wetsuit line. If you don’t want to sacrifice style, look to the brands Roxy, Saint Jacques, Cynthia Rowley, and Glide Soul.
Each wetsuit comes labeled with a number rating, which represents the thickness of the material. Thinner suits are best for warm water and thicker suits are rated for cold water.
When you see a suit with two or three number ratings, it signifies different thicknesses for the arms and legs.
When considering the construction of a wetsuit, look at the waterproofing of the seams. For warm water, overlock stitched seams or flatlock stitched seams are fine. For colder water, you will want seams that are sealed, taped or glued, and blindstitched.
If your wetsuit fits properly, then you will have less sagging and pooling of water against your body. Also, being able to move and rotate your arms won’t be a problem. When you first try on a suit, you may be surprised at how snug it feels. This is normal, as long as it’s not constricting. When wet, the fabric stretches.
When choosing between a back zipper or a chest zipper, consider comfort and price. Back zip suits are somewhat less expensive and are easier to get on and off. However, they may be less flexible and leaks can be bothersome. Chest zip suits can be tougher to get on and off, but leakage isn’t usually a problem.
There you have it! Now you know everything you need to find the perfect wetsuit for you. To find out more information about what to look for in swim gear, read our other blog posts!
Not only is snorkeling a great way to stay active, but it gives you a front row seat to some of the earth’s most enchanting spaces. Even today, the ocean is still full of mystery in many ways. Snorkeling allows you to experience it firsthand.
Is a beginner snorkeling trip in the near future for you? The key to making it a successful undertaking is to be relaxed. It’s normal to be nervous about a new experience, but try to keep it under control and not think about it too much. With enough practice, those nerves will disappear and the ocean will become a spellbinding wonderland.
If you’re just getting into it and are wondering how to snorkel, here are a few tips to make it as enjoyable an experience as possible.
Start out practicing with your snorkel outside the water first. Just put on your mask and breathe through the tube, holding it gently in your teeth so your jaw doesn’t tire out quickly. Get yourself really accustomed to it by practicing some simple breathing exercises, such as equal breathing (inhale for a count of four, exhale for a count of four) or the abdominal breathing technique (place one hand on your chest and the other on your belly, inhale deeply and slowly through your nose using your diaphragm to stretch your lungs—so your belly should move, not your chest).
When you feel confident breathing with it on land, it’s time to take it to the water. The best way to get the hang of it is just floating calmly facedown at the surface. If you feel anxious at all, try to concentrate on the things you can see under the water. This will help you to just focus on your breathing.
To get the proper snorkeling experience, you need to wear fins. You want fins that fit snugly but aren’t too small. If you can’t straighten your toes or they hurt even a little bit, get a bigger size. Squished toes lead to foot cramps, so it’s better if your fins are a bit too big than too small.
Try getting your feet wet first before pulling them on–this helps them to slide on smoothly.
This is probably the most important snorkeling advice–your mask needs to fit your face. To check the fit of your mask, hold it to your face and inhale through your nose. A properly fitting mask should seal and stay in place without you holding it up. Because if air can leak in, water can too.
A lot of times hair can get in the way and loosen the seal. So keep your hair back and your face shaved. If you don’t want to shave, some lip balm or petroleum jelly below your nose can help secure the seal.
Mask straps are designed to be worn at the crown of your head, which is the widest part. If the strap isn’t in the right spot, water is more likely to leak in.
Another good skill to learn is how to defog your mask. After all, the whole point of snorkeling is to see the underwater world. There are materials you can buy that keep your lenses clear longer, such as gel products, special types of crushed leaves, or even a drop of Johnson’s baby shampoo rinsed out with seawater can help keep out the fog.
There’s something about being on and around water that simply feels good. Water provides a cool reprieve from summer heat, invigorates and inspires us, builds memories, creates nostalgia, relaxes, and renews our minds. And while it’s easy to enjoy the benefits of aqua-serenity, being properly equipped and wearing the right gear can make the difference between having a good time on the water and having a great time on the water.
This quick and easy guide will help you discover the advantages of having proper water-friendly footwear and how to choose the best water shoes for your needs.
Sticks, rocks, hooks, plants, shells, broken bottles, debris—these are just a few of the potential hazards lurking beneath the water’s surface threatening to injure your feet and mar your plans of enjoying any future water activities. By wearing proper water shoes, however, these threats are immediately reduced.
Along with providing reliable toe and foot protection, water shoes also offer excellent traction, boosting both ease and safety in and around water. If you’re active in water sports, especially in rocky and rough conditions, water shoes don’t just keep you safe, but they also make it easy for climbing in and out of the water. Unlike tennis shoes that quickly absorb water and bog you down or old school water shoes with flimsy support and sub-par materials, today’s water shoes offer innovative design features and are created with high-tech materials that combine functionality and style to make them ideal for everyday use in and around water. Use the guide below to help you find which the best water shoes for your type of water activities.
Thanks to their versatility, water sandals are the most popular type of water footwear on the market today. Far superior to flimsy flip-flops or cheap generic sandals, water sandals provide excellent traction for virtually any type of water activity. From slick river banks to soggy lake beaches, water sandals have the grip needed to keep you steady on your feet and the design features that make them easy to slip on and off. Often considered the best water shoes for swimming and floating, water sandals are also the perfect go-to for romping around town and wade fishing.
Designed for water lovers who spend ample time participating in water activities, water shoes offer many additional features that water sandals do not. Along with superb traction, water shoes also feature foot and toe protection for added safety. With the comfort of an everyday athletic sneaker and grip of a hiking shoe, water shoes are versatile enough to wear while walking on rocky trails or navigating wet, rocky terrain. Water shoes are perfect for water lovers interested in overnight float trips through rocky and varied terrain, hiking and wading adventures and day hikes in moist conditions.
More of a bootie than a shoe, wet shoes are typically the go-to footwear for guided float trips and swimming at the beach. These neoprene booties fit snugly around your foot to add insulation and warmth in the water. Because wet shoes have virtually no sole, they aren’t meant for hiking around or wading in rocky, rough terrain. Essentially a wetsuit for your foot, these boots are ideal for water activities such as ocean swimming and river rafting (in-raft use only).
By choosing the perfect type of water footwear for your activities, you can keep your feet comfortable and safe during all of your fun adventures. Check out the Swim Jim blog for more fun and interesting water-related articles.