Too much screen time is making kids heavier by the day. Children as young as two years (14 percent) are slowly getting bigger, eventually leading to 20% of teens being obese. Physical activity is essential in your kids’ early life, and one of the best ways to encourage active play is with a swimming pool.
The Dangers of Childhood Obesity
A third of Americans are obese. Close to 100 million adults and 15 million children have been diagnosed with obesity, and many more are overweight. Childhood obesity will likely lead to adult obesity. The condition has a multitude of health risks and a bit of social stigma. Your kids’ chances of getting bullied double if they are obese or overweight, with around 60 percent experiencing constant teasing, rejection, and actual physical harm.
Active Play Is the Best Kind of Play
Children have incredibly high metabolic rates, and a little extra food shouldn’t be a problem — that is, if they’re active. The concept of play has changed since the advent of video games, cable, the Internet, and smartphones. While the kids of old clamored to go outside to play with friends, the kids of today have to be coaxed to go out.
A swimming pool in your backyard can give your kids the motivation to play outside. Every day can be a beach day, and encouraging active play during their formative years will instill a more active lifestyle when they grow up.
Water and Weight Loss
Swimming is one of the best exercises to burn calories. You’ve probably read about Olympic swimmers (Phelps, Locke, etc.), and their 10,000 calorie meals — hours of swimming can burn all that. Of course, your kids won’t be training like athletes in your backyard, but they will be in the water.
Just being in the water adds a bit of resistance to their movements. Muscle growth is stimulated, and the extra effort burns up more calories. Water also disperses body heat, forcing their bodies to maintain core body temperatures by burning fat stores.
Pools to Consider
Not everyone can afford a 25-meter pool (good for you if you have the space and finances), but you don’t necessarily need one to keep your kids fit. Lap pools can be as short as 10-12 meters (30-40 feet) with widths of 8-10 feet. Lap pools don’t need to be deep, so a depth of 3 feet should be enough.
The shallow depth also makes it a lot safer for your kids. If you think your kids have the knack to be serious swimmers, opt for an endless pool. These pools pump water to create a current where swimmers can swim without ever reaching the other end. Endless pools require smaller spaces but can cost around $20,000.
Always have an adult present when your kids are in the pool, especially in their first forays. Even after they’ve learned to swim, always keep an eye out or at least be within earshot. If you have toddlers or pets, a pool fence might be in order. DIY pool fences are easy to build, so you can probably set them up yourself.
All kids love playing in the water, and swimming is the best play activity for burning calories. A backyard swimming pool isn’t that outrageous, especially if it’s for your kids’ future.