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Learning To Swim Later in Life

According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 10 people in the U.S. die from unintentional drowning every day. Of these 10, eight are over the age of 14.

“Everyone should know how to swim, whether you’re doing it for safety reasons or for fitness,” says Cooper Fitness Center Swim Pro Marni Kerner.

While many think swimming lessons are just for kids, Kerner says it’s never too late to learn this important skill- one which may one day save your life.

Swimming Statistics

A 2014 American Red Cross survey found while 80 percent of American adults say they can swim, only 56 percent can perform basic skills needed to save their life in a water emergency situation. The five basic skills include:

  • Stepping or jumping into the water (over your head)
  • Returning to the surface and floating or treading water for one minute
  • Turning around in a full circle and finding an exit
  • Swimming 25 yards to the exit
  • Exiting the water without using a ladder

Kerner has taught swimming lessons for more than 15 years and says now more than ever, she has adults taking lessons.

“I think most get to a point in their lives where they say, ‘I have to get this figured out,’” explains Kerner. “Living in Dallas, people want to be able to go to a nearby lake or jump in a local swimming pool and be able to swim with their kids or friends.”

Lesson Plan

When it comes to swimming lessons for adults, the hardest part for many is getting comfortable in the pool.

“Most of the time when adults don’t know how to swim, it’s because they had a bad experience in the water as a child,” explains Kerner. “Together, we have to get them in

Happy woman taking swimming lessons with a teacher

the water and figure out their comfort level.”

Kerner says every beginner swimming lesson starts with a focus on breathing, as that skill can often be the hardest to tackle.

“Swimming is a cardiovascular exercise so you can’t hold your breath the entire time, but most people do,” says Kerner. “Often, they don’t even realize they’re doing it. It’s my job to help them develop a breathing pattern.”

From there, Kerner transitions to life-saving techniques such as floating, treading, bobbing, kicking and eventually, specific swimming strokes.

Kerner says most beginner swimming lessons last approximately 30 minutes and it doesn’t take long for someone to learn techniques that can potentially save their life.

“I had a 23-year-old student who wanted to learn to swim because she was going on vacation near water,” explains Kerner. “In just four sessions, I was able to teach her swimming fundamentals and ultimately, make her water secure. It was rewarding because I knew she was going to be able to enjoy her trip so much more.”

Cooper Fitness Center offers private and semi-private child and adult swimming lessons year-round. For more information, visit cooperfitnesscenter.com.

Categories: Cooper Updates
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