Weekly family rail, with tips on winter swimming, a review of “Les Misérables” and more.
Tip of the Week
It's dark. It's cold. Heading to the pool might be the furthest thing from your mind. While summer is the time of year for playing at the beach, pool parties and outdoor water sports, the colder months are actually a great time to start swimming.
"Swimming is a low-impact exercise that depending, on the intensity of the workout, can involve multiple energy systems," says U.S. Masters Swimming Club and Coach Services director Bill Brenner. "Swimming improves your cardiovascular system as well as stamina and flexibility. It is a popular form of exercise for weight loss and weight control due to the high caloric consumption associated with the activity."
Swimming is the form of exercise most adults would choose to do if given the opportunity, according to research by the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association. "If you ask 10 adults if you could do one exercise for an hour with maximum benefits and minimal risk for injury the majority would pick swimming," says Brenner. "This is true even for those who can't swim a length of the pool, because 37 percent of adults can't."
Rebecca Sato, 44, of Austin, Texas, used to be a non-swimmer two years ago. "I was totally sedentary and had 70 pounds to lose," Sato recalls. "In the course of losing weight and getting into shape, I needed to find something I enjoyed doing."
She learned to swim at Life Time, The Healthy Way of Life Company, and while she was at it, enrolled her two sons, now 5 and 9, into lessons so they could learn to swim, too. "I didn't want them to grow up like me," Sato says. "I wanted something athletic in their life and swimming, especially for little kids, is non-negotiable. Kids need to be able to swim because otherwise they're not safe."
Drowning is the No. 1 cause of death for children younger than 5. Even the American Academy of Pediatrics revised its position statement in May of 2010 to encourage children as young as 1 to start lessons to help prevent drowning. But depositing your child into a swim lesson at the start of summer may not provide enough time to acquire the skills they need before the outdoor pools open.
"The average child needs approximately 30 hours of swimming lessons before they can swim consistently and confidently 25 meters of a pool," says Alicia Kockler, senior national aquatics manager at Life Time.
Kockler says that swimming a length of a pool indicates that a swimmer has the proficiency level and stamina to survive a dangerous situation in the water - he could survive long enough to either reach safety or for help to arrive.
"Currently less than 40 percent of children 18 and younger can swim the length of a pool," Kockler says.
Going to the pool to practice doesn't always mean swimming drills and working on technique, Kockler adds. "Playing in the pool builds strength, stamina and skills. What's more, children whose parents join them in the water and share in the enjoyment tend to learn faster."
So jump in now. The air outside might be frightful, but the water feels just right.
Family Movie Night
Length: 157 minutes
Synopsis: The classic novel and classic play now make it to the big screen.
Violence/scary rating: 3.5
Sexual-content rating: 3.5
Profanity rating: 2
Drugs/alcohol rating: 2
Family Time rating: OK for teens, but otherwise it’s fairly intense.
(Ratings are judged on a five-point scale, with 5 being “bad for kids” and 1 being “fine for kids.”)
“Racing in the Rain: My Life as a Dog,” by Garth Stein
Synopsis: Meet one funny dog — Enzo, the lovable mutt who tells this story. Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: most dogs love to chase cars, but Enzo longs to race them. He learns about racing and the world around him by watching TV and by listening to the words of his best friend, Denny, an up-and-coming race car driver, and his daughter, ZoË, his constant companion. Enzo finds that life is just like being on the racetrack—it isn't simply about going fast. And, applying the rules of racing to his world, Enzo takes on his family's challenges and emerges a hero. In the end, Enzo holds in his heart the dream that Denny will go on to be a racing champion with his daughter by his side. For theirs is an extraordinary friendship — one that reminds us all to celebrate the triumph of the human (and canine) spirit. - HarperCollins Publishers
Did You Know
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that obesity among long-income pre-schoolers has dropped slightly over the past 10 years.
GateHouse News Service