It’s never too late to learn how to swim!

Despite prevention campaigns, dozens of people drown every year in pools, lakes and rivers across the province. Too often these victims couldn’t swim. Learning how to swim is an effective way to build confidence, have fun and ensure your safety. And, the good news is, there is no age to learn!

Being able to swim is a bit like being able to walk: you get a huge amount of autonomy. You don’t need to be a champion swimmer, but acquiring a minimum of skills will allow you to move around and enjoy swimming. Provided that you correctly assess your capabilities. Indeed, many people think they can swim when they can’t. “When you ask people if they can swim, most say yes, but when you ask them more, you see them move two or three times, then stop to rest their legs. Legs in the background,” says Raynald Hawkins, executive director of the Life Saving Society.

Michel Mercier, director of prevention and safety at the Canadian Red Cross, cites the example of his late father, who breathlessly crossed to the other side of the pool, but only underwater.

Who can swim?

Both agree to say that it’s not about being able to swim. “Rather, it is the ability to move a distance of at least 50 meters in a prone or prone position and control one’s breathing, remaining on the surface of the water for at least 60 seconds after an involuntary fall in a fully clothed state. you can swim, says Hawkins. We’re starting at 50 meters in a pool because drowning statistics show that people are more or less 25 meters away from a potential place to hang, such as when they fall off a boat. Although a life jacket is required on the boat, he elaborates that swimming skills improve survival in the water.

Healthy and gentle exercise for the body

Michel Mercier notes that many adults were frustrated as children because their parents thought swimming was dangerous. “When we learn to swim, we learn to behave well, because we set an example for our youth. In fact, learning to swim should become a habit of life. This is an activity that can be practiced at any age and is very helpful when you have arthritis, knee or back problems because there is not much pressure in the water. People who swim are always satisfied because they gain muscle tone, lose weight and experience less pain.”

Open the barriers!

How frustrating it is to watch your children or grandchildren bathe and cool off without being able to join them sitting on a chair behind the pool barrier because you can’t swim! Or head south and skip your snorkeling session for the same reason.

“At the Lifeguard Society, we offer the Swim for Life program of swimming training, which aims to provide adults with ongoing training in the basics of swimming or training in water for body shaping. So, depending on your ability, you can progress with other adults and make sure you can use what you’ve learned, always with the goal of ensuring your aquatic survival,” says Raynald Hawkins.

A few hours of practice for years of enjoyment

Most municipalities offer swimming lessons for both children and adults. Just ask at your community center. Mr. Hawkins and Ms. Mercier say they take an average of ten hours of lessons to learn how to swim, but each progresses at their own pace. Classes are also an opportunity to communicate.

“I have many examples of people who make friends during class and have a nice little walk, complemented by time together over a cup of coffee. They talk about their children, grandchildren and organize pool days with the satisfaction and pride of being able to swim,” says the director of prevention and safety at the Canadian Red Cross. Raynald Hawkins also notes that some enjoy it to the point that they extend their apprenticeship in order to improve. So, without hesitation, go for it!

Visit the Red Cross website for more information on water safety.

>> Read also: Children’s party by the pool: 10 tips on how not to drown and how to safely equip the pool


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