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Swimming is one of the most promising physical activities to get Latino kids active in and out of school.
But as many as 6 in 10 Latinos do not know how to swim.
Fortunately, people are stepping up to help.
A Florida program gives out coupons for free swim safety classes. Detroit is combining swimming and literacy. And recently a Holocaust survivor helped a YWCA put together the Los Pecesitos (“The Little Fishes”) program to help Latino kids learn to swim in Tulsa, Okla.
“What we know is that the drowning rates for children of color are two to three times higher than that of Caucasian children,” said Lacey Thompson Caywood, director of health and wellness for the Tulsa YWCA. “So there was a need for basic swim lessons.”
In addition to preventing drowning, swim lessons have other big benefits.
Top 8 benefits of swimming
Swimming is good, according to Just Swim:
- Full body workout. Swimming uses all the muscles in the body. Exercising in water makes your body work harder. 30 minutes in a pool is worth 45 minutes of the same activity on land.
- Great for general wellbeing. Just 30 minutes of swimming three times a week alongside a balanced, healthy diet is one of the best ways to stay fit and healthy and maintain a positive mental outlook.
- De-stresses and relaxes (for god mental health). Swimming regularly can lower stress levels, reduce anxiety and depression, and improve your sleep patterns. Feeling the mental benefits of swimming takes just a light swim.
- Burns calories. A gentle swim can burn over 200 calories in just half an hour, more than double that of walking.
- Lowers risk of diseases. As well as being a great form of cardiovascular exercise, swimming just 30 minutes a week can help to guard against heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes.
- Supports the body. Water supports up to 90% of the body’s weight. So if you have a long term injury or illness, swimming is a brilliant way to stay active.
- Increases your energy levels. Just 30 minutes of swimming three times per week can boost your energy levels through increased metabolic rate.
- Exercising without the sweat. If sweating puts you off other forms of exercise, fear not. As a swimmer, you’ll never feel sweaty no matter how hard you work because the water around you is constantly cooling you down.
Swimming is unique because you can participate, no matter your fitness level.
The only issue with going out a grabbing those benefits is that you have to be able to swim.
A Holocaust Survivor Is Helping Latino Kids Swim
Eva Unterman was 12 when she was liberated from a Nazi slave labor camp at the end of World War II.
She has spent most of her life since then involved with children either as a teacher or a volunteer.
“Luckily, we’ve been fortunate that there are generous people and corporations out there that help us fund this program. It has been a big success.” Tulsa World reports.
Unterman is one of the contributors who fund the Los Pecesitos (Spanish for “the little fishes”) program at the Eastside YWCA. The program teaches young Latino children how to swim. Los Pecesitos is in its seventh year. About 168 children sign up for the summer-only program. Last summer about 60 were on a waiting list, reported by Tulsa World.
Unterman started knitting scarves to help fund Los Pecesitos about two years ago. She sells the scarves, and all proceeds go to the program.
Eva Unterman has made a difference in her community and we want to encourage you to make a difference in your community by getting the word out about swimming benefits.
Spread the word and find out how you can start or support a program like this in your community.