Why Kids Should Swim for Heart Health

swim for heart health
Two young men competing in the 100 butteryfly.

February is American Heart Month, and while heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women, it is important to make sure that kids (and their parents) understand the importance of creating healthy habits at a young age for prevention of heart-related issues as they age and improving heart health.

Many of the risk factors and bad habits that lead to heart disease can develop as a child, including high blood pressure, physical inactivity, high cholesterol, and being overweight. In fact, the CDC says obesity affects 1 in 5 children in the U.S. Swimming is an exercise that can aid in the prevention of many of the factors of heart disease while providing the physical and mental benefits of exercise for a healthy heart.

“It’s imperative that we teach our children heart-healthy habits at an early age, including healthy eating practices, and the importance of regular exercise,” states Natalie Pitts Kenny, MD, pediatric cardiologist in Atlanta. “Swimming is a wonderful exercise that benefits children in many ways including strengthening the heart, maintaining a healthy weight, and reducing stress.”

Here are the top five reasons why swimming is an incredible exercise for supporting heart health in children:

Swimming Strengthens the Heart

As a low-impact aerobic exercise, kids can put less pressure on their joints while strengthening their heart–and every other muscle in their body! Swimming can also lower the resting heart rate, strengthening the heart by making it larger, and making the heart more efficient at supplying blood to the body.

Swimming Burns Calories

Swimming is one of the biggest calorie-burning exercises and as such, it’s great for keeping weight under control, thus keeping your heart healthier. According to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute at the National Institutes of Health, burning extra calories can help you lose excess weight or stay at your healthy weight, which protects against heart disease.

Swimming Lowers Blood Pressure

Studies show that swimming a few times a week can lower systolic blood pressure, improve blood vessel function and lower blood pressure at rest.

Swimming Helps Maintain Cholesterol Levels

Swimming aids in fat burn which helps increase your chance of reducing dangerous cholesterol like Very Low Density and Low Density Lipoproteins. It also raises good cholesterol levels too!

Swimming Helps with Stress

According to the American Heart Association, negative psychological health/mental health is associated with an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. Swimming is a great way to release endorphins and create a positive feeling in the body.

If you are looking to build your child’s confidence in the water, create heart healthy habits and teach them a lifelong love of swimming.

Source Big Blue Swim School

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