Guest Contributor: Shannon Hoskin – First Swim Centre Manager
The trepidation sets in as you approach the water...how cool will it feel on my skin today? There is nothing better than getting my head under the water, pushing off the wall, and banging out a few laps. But how do you fit it into your daily life? Work (which has me in the water, teaching little ones to swim or watching my team of teachers teach), the kids, life admin, the extra activities, including sitting on pool side now for 5 hours a week with my two! I don’t swim anywhere near enough, which is frustrating given I’m in a pool environment 7 days a week. But I made myself a promise, that when the kids went back to school, I would go swimming for myself twice a week. I’ve managed that so far (week 2) and I plan on sticking with it. Why this time, unlike the million times before? I decided I deserve the time and space to do something for myself - I am worth it! Such a simple change in my mindset, with an unbelievably positive outcome for me first and foremost, but those around me too.
Swimming is a winning exercise – it lowers stress levels, reduces anxiety and depression, and aids sleep, therefore making it in my eyes, the perfect activity to do with babies. It also improves heart health, lowers blood pressure, and improves lung capacity. The biggest bonus - it doesn’t pound your body, so if like me you have back issues, it is wonderful to swim as it doesn’t load your already half broken body!
Having said all that, so many people still don’t swim. Did you see the latest stats by Swim England last week, stating that only 3% of children in London, aged between seven and eleven, can swim competently?! Across the UK, more than three million children were found not to be competent swimmers. This is frightening if you ask me. Swimming is not just an extra weekly activity, it’s a life skill. It’s essential to learn to swim. That’s why it’s included in the school curriculum.
I want my children to become competent swimmers. They are both on their way to achieving this, which reminds me daily to put the effort into myself. Be kind to yourself and if you can’t find the time to swim for yourself because there are one too many balls to juggle now, then bring your baby or toddler to swim with us and you at First Swim. We are based in Chiswick and Twickenham. Our lessons focus on gentle swimming progression, nothing is forced. There is also a sofa with your name on it for a post swim drink and cookie.