Enhancing Mental Development through Swimming
Child brain development specialist Glenn Doman has spent a lifetime seeking out the understanding of how a child’s mind develops from birth to six years of age. He founded The Institute for the Achievement of Human Potential (also known as The Institutes) in 1955. Through years of research “The Institutes” have created multiple programs that aid children in increasing their potential for intellectual greatness. Studies have shown that young children learn faster and easier than those of school age. Learning begins at birth. This can be seen in the process of teaching a baby to swim.
Exert from “How to Teach your Baby to Swim-From Birth to Age Six” by Douglas Doman (page two). As a baby develops these mobility functions, breathing will become deeper, more regular, and more mature. This enhanced respiration helps the baby to be able to make sounds, which improves communication and overall language development.
When the baby can move better, and breathe better, health also improves. When the baby is able to communicate better with mother and father, baby is happier. It is easy to see that these are all valuable “side-effects” of swimming.
Every child has a potential for greatness. It is through stimulating the mind that a genius is created not genetics or environment alone. Glenn Doman, Douglas Doman and Bruce Hagy have written multiple books that show how a child’s development influences intelligence. Books including How to teach your Child to Be Physically Superb, How Smart Is Your baby and How to Multiply Your Babies Intelligence all show the study of intelligence in children and how through stimulation they can learn faster and easier. They also support the mind/body connection. It is being proven that as a child’s body is stimulated through exercise such as swimming the mind is also stimulated causing further brain development and an increase in intelligence.
Swimming is a very beneficial form of exercise as it works the large muscles of the body honing in on gross motor skills, which build coordination.
Swimming also aids in the improvement of speech, brain development and works multiple areas of the brain through combined movement such as the kicking of arms and legs together. Swimming also reduces stress, increases mood-boosting chemicals in the brain and allows for muscles to contract and relax which increases blood flow to the brain providing nourishment.
As scientists further study how exercise improves cognition they are finding that the brain is not only stimulated therefore enhancing mental development but that regular exercise can actually cause injured neurons in the brain to regenerate. With studies showing that consistent exercise (swimming included) helps to improve a “typical” child’s intelligence, how much more can swimming benefit a child with autism or other special needs? It is through understanding that we are able to grow and with the knowledge of how swimming and other forms of exercise can benefit the body we are certain to be more eager to enrich our children’s lives through fitness.
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