Swimming is fit for all


“Swimming is a survival life skill that every individual worldwide should learn” (Blurb)

Botswana is mostly a summer country, with the sun blazing for most of the year. Even so, over the years many fitness routines have taken root in gym rooms and home exercise across the country, but swimming remains the underdog.

So far the best shot for swimming is how parents are gradually enrolling their children for swimming lessons but are less likely to learn themselves. Global Lifestyle had a chat with local medalist and swimming instructor Kabo Apula Chuma of Sharks Bite Swimming Club about the benefits of swimming for both fitness and leisure.

“There are quite a number of benefits of swimming as a competitive sport to earn a living or swimming as a form of fitness or therapeutic exertion,” Chuma explained. “The most popular exercise would be to control body mass or loss of adipose tissue (fat). Swimming can also serve as a benefit for recreational purposes. Most importantly, swimming is a survival life skill that every individual worldwide should learn.”

In his observation, the numbers of Batswana who display a keenness to learn the ‘swim sport’ is increasing, even though this does not tally with taking up the sport. “I’m talking with concern to the forever occurring drowning incidents which may be due to Botswana being landlocked, meaning access to water reserves is limited and motivation to take up swimming is hence low,” he said. “On average, females in the country have shown a greater interest in learning how to swim than their male counterparts. And if you look at statistics of drowning incidents in the country, the number of males prevails.”

He explained that a lot of Batswana are still held back by fear of water: “Hydrophobia is the leading stumbling block to learning how to swim,” he noted. “Once you overcome it, it becomes easier for an individual to take to water. Sedentary lifestyles contribute a lot to stiffness at the joints and gaining weight.

“However, the secret to learning how to swim is relaxation. Although overweight or obese people are better floaters than leaner ones due to a lot of adipose tissue content in their bodies, they encounter a challenge on limb mobility because of their body structure. Swimming requires massive effort in psychomotor coordination, which, according to my experience as a swim coach, a lot of individuals lack”

Chuma added that swimming has been proven to exercise close to 99% of the human muscular system and it is one of the most recommended exercises by physicians. Done correctly, swimming can be beneficial for body toning for a more leaner body and losing weight, as well as shedding off visceral and gluteal adipose tissue.

“The swim sport also improves cardiovascular health, leading to a better heart and improved breathing for those with respiratory conditions. Swimming is currently one of the most recognised exercise alternatives for patients with arthritis, Achille’s tendinitis, painful joints and many other conditions.