Teaching Babies to Swim Boasts Benefits Beyond the Pool

Julie Ryan Evans

Photo by AshBayGrammy
News splash: A recent study found that babies who learn to swim gain valuable skills other than swimming.

The study from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) showed that those who were taught to swim have stronger balance and movement skills than babies given no swimming instruction. Even more interesting is that five years later, they still performed better than those who hadn't been taught to swim as babies.

"We saw very clearly that baby swimmers were the best in exercises that related to balance and the ability to reach for things," said researcher Hermundur Sigmundsson.

I've been hesitating about signing my daughter up for swimming lessons, even though her little chubby body in a swimsuit is one of the cutest things I've ever seen. I figured she wouldn't learn much this early -- we'd just wait until she was a bit older and we'd get our money's worth.

Guess I figured wrong.

"It's incredibly exciting that specific training for young babies has an effect later in life. Development is a dynamic interplay between maturation, growth, experience, and learning," Sigmundsson said. "Our study shows that we must never underestimate the learning aspect."

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