Swimming offers lifetime benefits to the mind and body.
It is a social activity where friends can get together to interact and relax.
Eddie Nsabimana, a 35-year-old businessperson, says that he enjoys diving into the pool for a ball game with friends or family and at other times he simply likes to cool off from the day’s hot temperature.
“My major interest is the soothing feeling of being submerged in water and when playing in the swimming pool with friends or even my children, I feel almost 15 years younger!” he says.
Most people opt for swimming as an exercise or even a way of relaxation especially over the weekends but there is more to swimming than meets the eye.
Experts say that when one swims, the whole body is at work and this improves cardiovascular conditioning, muscle strength, endurance, posture, and flexibility all at the same time.
Your cardiovascular system in particular benefits because swimming improves your body’s use of oxygen without overworking your heart. The health benefits of swimming are almost unequalled to any other sport.
Dr. Ruhatana Wa Kabano, a physiotherapist in Plateau Poly Clinic in Kigali, says that swimming is a whole body sport and stresses that it presents perfect results for people who regularly swim for weight loss.
“Many people may fail to carry heavy weights and run around doing other forms of physical exercise. With swimming however, all the body muscles will have to be at work due to the strong water up thrust after submersion,” he says.
Ruhatana says that the best water temperature for swimming is 30 to 36 degrees. This is a good temperature for warming the body and getting it ready for water exercises.
As one swims in warm water, vessel dilation occurs. In this case opening of the vessels allows oxygen to move freely as blood runs through the body.
According to the physiotherapist, this brings about relaxation of the muscles and relieves any kind of body pain.
For expectant mothers, swimming comes with all the benefits of physical fitness during pregnancy. Although it is a good exercise with benefits for both mind and body, it is important to keep safe around the pool as well.
Many children are victims of accidental drowning. If a child has been under water for four to six minutes without oxygen, they can experience brain damage.
Experts say parents should not leave their children unattended near swimming pools, or should set up a buddy system, in which children are paired to watch out for each other.
Swimming pool accidents can be prevented by use of safety equipment such as floatation devices especially for children and all learners.
Regardless of the age, it is always important to go swimming with other people, as it is easier to call for help than when someone is alone in the pool area.
Children should stay away from the pool area, unless under supervision and swimmers should avoid diving in shallow water.
It is advisable to make it a routine to go swimming regularly. There are a number of pools around Kigali especially at hotels such as Alpha Palace, Novotel, Mille Collines and other clubs. You can also make it a weekend routine to visit Rwanda’s beautiful beaches.