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swimming

  • Creating the Perfect Environment around Your Backyard Pool

    Little girl in a swimming pool

     

    Once you install a new pool in your backyard, you should be prepared for your home to become the gathering point for all your friends, family members, and neighbors. There's a difference between hosting some guests in your backyard, and entertaining those guests. With the addition of these must-have accessories, you'll create the perfect environment in your backyard to entertain guests around the pool.

     

    Slides

    Kids aren't generally picky when it comes to a pool. If there's water and the chance to swim around, children will hop right in and enjoy the cool waters. If you want to give them something more to do, you can purchase a slide such as the Typhoon Slide or Turbo Twister Slide to give the kids a chance to enjoy a waterpark thrill in the comfort of your backyard.

     

    Umbrellas

    Everyone enjoys the sun's warm glow, but if you're going to be spending the whole day outside around the pool, you'll inevitably want some shade to escape those warm rays. There are countless options when it comes to selecting an umbrella for use in the backyard. Canton umbrellas with collar tilts are common choices, due to simplicity. They can be used as standalone umbrellas, or placed next to seating areas.

    Bimini Cantilever umbrellas are portable and use heavy stands that sit off to the side, casting shade over a larger area without having a stand in the middle of a seating area. Of course, there are also umbrellas included in seating arrangements, where the umbrella stand comes up through the center of a table to cast shade over those seated at the table.

    A unique option is the Blue Wave Light. This accessory can be added to most umbrellas, and provides light under the umbrella as you enjoy those warm evening breezes outdoors around your pool.

     

    Pool Stools

    If the primary users of your backyard pool are older children and adults, pool stools offer a great option for in-pool seating that creates a unique experience. These LED Pool Stools are adjustable to three- or four-foot depths. They are not fixed to the bottom of the pool, but rather, feature a weighted base that helps hold them in place. An included remote control allows you to fade, flash, and change colors on a whim, adding brilliance to the nighttime ambiance around your pool!

     

    Fountains

    Even if you purchase a simple swimming pool for your backyard, you can add a fountain at any time that adds entertainment to your backyard. The Raindance Deluxe Spinning Fountain comes with its own water pressure valve, universal adapter kit, transparent, flexible plumbing, and anchor that allows you to install and remove the fountain as you choose.

    Your pool doesn't have to be the only source of entertainment in your backyard. While there is nothing wrong with a pool alone, adding a few extra accessories can transform a backyard with a pool into the ultimate entertaining area that will leave all your neighbors feeling jealous.

     

    Do you have pool accessories in your backyard? Which one is your favorite?

     

  • Teaching Babies to Swim

    Teaching Babies to Swim photo courtesy McStone via pixabay.com

    We recently blogged about dry drowning--how to spot the symptoms and how to prevent it from happening. Thankfully, it's a rather uncommon phenomenon. Actual drowning, however, is not: drowning is the leading cause of accidental death for children aged 1-3 years old in 30 states.

    A few weeks ago, we reposted this rather amazing video on our Facebook page:

     

    It's a little shocking--watching a baby fall into a pool is a scary thing! But it brings to attention the importance of teaching very young children skills that may help them survive an accidental tumble into a swimming pool or other body of water.

    Check out our selection of floating aids and toys.

    Types of Infant Swim Classes

    There are a lot of options for parents who are looking for infant swim classes:

    • A well-known infant swim class is Waterbabies. This class and others like it include the parent and the infant in the lessons. The focus is primarily social (parent-infant bonding, parent-parent socializing, infant-infant socializing) and getting babies accustomed to being in the water. Basic floating skills are taught.
    • Then there are classes like the one discussed in the video above. They are not advertised as swimming classes; rather, they are "self-rescue" classes, and the focus is not on fun or swimming, but rather on teaching infants survival skills that may help them survive falling into a pool. Parents sit on the sidelines while trained instructors teach the infant to roll onto their backs, float, breathe, and wait for assistance. Older babies are taught to swim for short intervals in order to reach safety.
    • Parents can also teach their babies basic swimming skills on their own. There are many resources on the Internet that guide parents through teaching basic floating skills and swimming skills such as the doggy paddle.
    • Many communities also offer courses through local swimming pools. Check the resources in your area to see if such classes are offered. Many of these types of classes will be geared towards children 4 years and up.

    How Old Should My Baby Be to Learn to Swim?

    It depends who you ask. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that children are not developmentally ready to learn to swim until they are 4 years old. However, they mean actually swimming. Programs like Waterbabies, in which children only float and are held in the water, start at 1 month. Self-rescue programs encourage parents to teach self-rescue skills between 6-12 months. The right time will also depend on the child and any special needs they may have.

    The Benefits of Teaching Babies to Swim

    Besides teaching skills that could save them from drowning, there are other benefits to teaching infants to swim:

    • Babies that learn to swim have better balance and are better at grasping objects than their non-swimming peers. This difference in ability persists even up through five years of age.
    • Teaching babies to swim can boost their confidence. They are also less likely to be afraid of being in water or having water on their face.
    • Swimming builds strength. The buoyancy of the water and the resistance it provides exercises muscles more effectively than activity on land. Research shows that babies who swim crawl later than their peers but walk earlier, due to improved muscle control.
    • One German study found that babies who swim display advanced social skills and intelligence, compare to their non-swimming peers.
    • Swimming relaxes infants and the activity stimulates their appetite. This improves their sleeping and eating habits.

    Will Teaching My Baby to Swim Prevent Drowning?

    Teaching an infant to swim, or teaching an infant self-rescue techniques, will improve their chance of surviving should they fall into water. However, there is never any guarantee they will not drown--no one is drown-proof. Even highly skilled adult swimmers can drown. The best way to prevent drowning is to secure pool areas with gates and fences, and to supervise your child at all times when near a pool or other body of water.

    This wristband alarm is designed specifically to warn you should your infant fall into the pool.

    Even if your infant has taken swimming or self-rescue classes, it is crucial you do not rely on those skills to save your child.

    View our pool alarm and safety systems here.

     

  • The Health Benefits of Swimming

    US_Marines_butterfly_stroke

    We hope that everyone reading this resolved to swim more in 2014! Swimming is both fun and a very good exercise. Swimming is a unique exercise because it allows you to work your body without the harsh impacts to your skeletal system that you find in running or jogging. The human body becomes very light in water: in waist-deep water, your body bears only 50% of its weight. In chest-deep water, your body bears only 25-35% of its weight. In neck-deep water, you bear merely 10% of your own weight. Since the water supports the rest, your body is free to move without stress on joints or bones, making for a more gentle workout.

    So you know the pool is a great place to exercise, but what exactly is that exercise doing for your body? The health benefits of swimming are almost too many for one article, but we're going to do it anyway:

    Provides Relief From Arthritic Pain

    Water's amazing supportive ability means that the pool is the perfect place to workout if you're overweight or suffer from arthritis. The Arthritis Foundation recommends that those who suffer from arthritis should stretch muscles, strengthen muscles, and perform aerobic workouts. Swimming combines all three into one activity.

    Builds Muscle Strength and Tone

    Water is about 12 times as dense as air, so every movement in water becomes a resistance exercise. Resistance exercises are known to be the best way to develop muscle strength and tone. In one study, men who participated in an 8-week swimming program saw a 23.8% increase in their triceps (the muscle at the back of the arm).

    Improves Bone Strength

    The resistance exercise provided by swimming also helps improve bone strength. The benefits of swimming on bone strength are especially notable in post-menopausal women who are highly susceptible to osteoporosis.

    Encourages Muscle Flexibility

    The broad range of motions that are possible and involved in swimming encourage joints and ligaments to become and remain loose and flexible. Additionally, swimming strokes lengthen the body, stretching muscles repeatedly from head to toe, developing elasticity in muscle tissue.

    Improves Heart Strength and Efficiency

    Aerobic exercise, also known as "cardio", is known to strengthen the heart. It helps make the heart larger and also improves pumping efficiency. This results in increased blood flow throughout the body. In one study, sedentary men and women participated in swim training for 12 weeks and at the end saw their maximal oxygen consumption improve 10% and the amount of blood pumped with each heartbeat improved by as much as 18%.

    Can Lower and Control Weight

    As a general rule, for every 10 minutes of swimming, the average person burns 60 calories doing the breast stroke, 80 calories doing the backstroke, 100 calories swimming freestyle, and 150 calories doing the butterfly stroke. And because of the low-impact nature of exercising in water, it's easy to workout for longer periods of time.

    Relieves Asthma Symptoms

    Swimming is done, by necessity, in a moist environment, which helps alleviate exercise-induced asthma symptoms. For regular asthma sufferers, swimming can actually improve the condition overall. In one study, children who completed a 6-week swimming program saw improvements in the severity of their asthma symptoms, snoring, mouth-breathing, and experienced reduced hospitalizations and emergency room visits. Even more impressive, these health benefits were still apparent a year after the program ended.

    Swimming regularly can increase lung volume and teach proper breathing techniques, both beneficial to asthma sufferers.

     Lengthens Life Expectancy

    It's true! Swimming regularly can lengthen the span of your years. In a huge study of over 40,000 men aged 20-90 over the course of 32 years, those that swam had a 50% lower death rate than runners, walkers, or sedentary men. It's believed that the results would be similar for women. And because swimming is such a great exercise for older people, regular swimmers experience good health for longer than those who don't swim.

    With a list of health benefits like this, who wouldn't want to go swimming? Make it your New Year's resolution and have a safe, healthy 2014. Happy swimming!

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