It is SUMMERTIME and with summer comes many fun outdoor activities.

One of these is Swimming!

Swimming is great for any kiddos who have low tone, neuromuscular conditions that affect movement strength or control, and for conditions that affect one’s joints. For any child who falls in one of the diagnostic categories listed above, moving in the water helps because buoyancy (aka what helps you float a little bit when you swim) takes away some of the gravity that typically weighs us down when we move! Though we love gravity to help keep our feet grounded when we move around on the earth, it does make it more difficult for kiddos who have low tone or neuromuscular related weakness to perform tasks that require them to move against gravity or require their muscles to have to sustain endurance against the forces of gravity throughout the day. For children who have a condition that affects their joints, the buoyancy of the water relieves a portion of the downward pressure exerted on their joints with every step on land. 

Now, while buoyancy makes time in the water a little easier than time on land, we can’t forget about the other properties that make exercises in the water a true workout. Water is more viscous than air, meaning it is thicker and harder to move through. Not only is water thicker than air BUT water molecules love to stick together too, a property called cohesion. When the molecules stick together, again it makes them harder to move through than air, because as we are moving through water, we are resisting the force required to maintain the bonds between water molecules. I’ll bet you never thought you were breaking bonds every time that you go for a swim, but it’s neat right?! 

That said, here are some activities that your kiddo can do in the shallow end of the pool (with supervision of course) that will help strengthen them for their time as a landlubber (aka when they are on land again):

  1. Water walking OR running: Perform this in the shallow end only. This activity involves the whole body and will help get the heart rate up as well
  2. Jumping jacks: As you move your arms upward and jump with your legs apart, you wil be able to feel the water helping your arms and legs rise BUT as soon as you try to pull everything together you will feel an increase in resistance (the opposite of being on land)
  3. Swimming: Whether they are doing the doggy paddle or repeated strokes of freestyle, they will be cutting through the water working with all the properties described above and building strength and getting their heart pumping!
  4. Water punches: Have your kiddo stand still and pretend they are attacking some bad guys as a cool secret agent. To up the difficulty level, you can add in turns and tell them the bad guys are all around. Make sure they are punching under the water or else they are not benefitting from the resistance the water can provide.

Want to learn about more fun exercises for Summer? Visit our instagram @KidPT or check out more of our blog posts!

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