Learning to swim

Portrait of little baby swimming in swimming pool

Does Early Childhood Swimming Increase Intelligence?

In Construction Process by John & Sabrina FoleyMay 11, 2015

Every parent wants to give their kid a head start when it comes to learning, cognitive abilities, and coordination. Certainly, things such as pre-school, playing around with neighborhood friends, and early learning classes are all good ways to do this. But here’s something you may never have considered: swimming lessons. Getting your child involved with swimming, at an early age, has been found to increase intelligence levels and give them higher levels of coordination before they reach 5 years old. How? Here’s the story.
The Griffith University Study

Australia’s Griffith University polled over 7,000 parents, with kids under the age of 5 who were participating in swimming classes. Some were even from the United States, in an attempt to have a broad range of answers. The study aimed to find out when their kids were reaching major lifestyle milestones in emotions, cognitive abilities, and physical fitness. 200 of these children were actually tested in an attempt qualify poll results. The results of the tests border on staggering. Here are some of the findings.

One group of 3-year-old test subjects was up to 15 months ahead of the normal curve in following directions.
Kids a bit older than 4 years old were 10 months ahead in language skills, 11 months ahead in oral expressions, and nearly 7 months ahead in maths skills.

Kids nearly 4 years old had better grasping skills by 7 months, and were close to 4 months ahead in locomotive skills.

The Downside

It’s hard to imagine an actual downside with this study, but there were some areas that were either at or below par with normal developmental skills. These included not being able to spell words as well as those children who didn’t swim, and none of the swimmers were better at catching, kicking, or throwing.
The Findings as a Whole

The facts related to this study found out that child swimmers had far better cognitive abilities than normal, and intellectual comparisons showed that early swimmers were at least months, if not years, ahead of the norm. They were able to write better, had better reading skills, they could count better, and were better able to use building blocks than kids that did not take swimming lessons.
The Bottom Line

The Griffith University study gives evidence that swimming lessons at an early age get kids off to a head start both intellectually and physically. Although no one is quite sure why this is, lead researcher in the study, Robyn Jorgensen, speculates that, “… swim classes are stimulating environments where kids are exposed to detailed instructions, visual cues and rhyming songs, among other experiences that they can connect to the world outside the pool.”

“Many of these differences will be of advantage to children as they transition into school or preschool settings,” Jorgensen concluded.

The bottom line is this: if you want your child to get a boost both mentally and physically during their preschool years, get them enrolled in swimming classes. It will not only be fun for them to participate in, and teach them a very important skill; it will also give them a solid start intellectually before starting school.

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