Swimming and Brain Development

How swimming helps the brain

Brain benefits of swimming break down into three basic areas:

  • Exercise-induced benefits, including endorphins and increased blood flow to the brain
  • Water-induced benefits: Blood flow to the brain increases by around 14% just by being immersed in the water
  • BDNF — a brain-generated protein that helps repair cells and build new ones.

Together, these factors positively affect children’s mental, emotional and intellectual development.

Swimming helps improve memory

But your kids don’t have to break out the flashcards to build brain power. Regular high-energy swimming encourages the growth of new neurons in the brain’s hippocampus, the part that promotes memory retention. Part of the benefit is due to water itself: A 2014 study found that blood flow to the brain increased by 14% just by being immersed in water up to the chest.

A 2017 review of studies by the University of South Wales, the working memory wasn’t the only thing positively impacted by the exercise-induced effects of swimming — self control, selective attention, cognitive flexibility, intelligence, and academic achievement were also among the most-noted benefits. Swimming is equated with helping kids with spatial learning, pattern separation, executive function, and processing speed.

Swimming help builds confidence

Self-confidence is essential in everyday life whether your child wants to succeed in athletics in or out of the pool, excel in schoolwork, or just enjoy and experience life on a more integrated level. These are some of the areas that energetic team swimming can help develop:

  • Adaptability Directionality Problem solving
  • Balance Focus Self esteem
  • Body Image Laterality Self reliance
  • Cognition Perceptual motor abilities
  • Social interaction skills Spatial orientation

Swimming helps build positive mental health

Being part of a swim team involves being part of a social unit. Teammates encourage one another and share challenging experiences.

Swimming supports the body in a relatively weightless environment, helping the body and the mind relax.

Sailfish Sports Project is a local nonprofit organization providing opportunities for youth ages 6-18 from all parts of the Verde Valley to have a safe and stable before / after school program in swimming. Sports activities provide balanced, stable, and rhythmic physical learning that can build lasting principles and qualities for life success. Our mission is to offer each child a chance to develop in a healthy way and to enjoy success through being part of a structured swim team, and thus secure a higher quality of mental and physical well-being. Our goals: Provide a stable team environment where youth and their families experience a sense of belonging and social connection. This is of vital importance now more than ever in light of social distancing and limited extracurricular activities. Address the primary reasons for youth addiction and bad behavior: Lack of feeling connected in the community, a need for fun, and to address stress, according to Matforce. Increase physical fitness through balanced, stable, and rhythmic physical learning that can build lasting principles and qualities for life success. Improve mental focus: Chronic exercise enhances spatial learning, pattern separation, executive function, working memory, and processing speed. Achieve long-term goals through gaining college scholarships. Provide training for economically disadvantaged athletes.

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