Therapy And Literacy | A Combo Possible Only At GMC

The 8th of September every year is a very important day as it should be.  While a majority of those who understand the dynamics of the day are mainly in the medical field, it is imperative that the two celebrations marking this day be an almost national observation.

Thinking of these celebrations, I am here at the GMC Funplace in Kitengela, taking a moment of solitude in one of the VIP rooms as I enjoy the view outside.  Across this big window before me, a family is hosting guests at a special birthday party on the luscious lawns of GMC Funplace.

Their color scheme is a steal as it is surreal because it matches beautifully with the Oasis Blue Sky Swimming Pool in the background.  It is also a great contrast with the eye catching primary colours that surround the décor on the porch by the pools … almost making a rainbow of the colour sphere.

But my thoughts are also on the International Literacy Day and the World Physical Therapy Day – both celebrated on the 8th of September each year.  Looking at the environment around me, I see a great opportunity to use both days and their themes interchangeably to advise the benefits of the other.

Literacy is not only limited to books because life itself is an unending journey of learning about things if not all things.  Couple this with the rising health challenges exclusive of the new COVID 19 phenomenon… this is a recipe that calls for a merger.

I also find that it is at GMC Funplace where one can use both days to empower their lives and those of their loved ones.  It is here that the first warm water swimming pool in Kitengela calls home.  That can be counted as a lesson in itself, but there is more.

One of the few exercises that can heal the entire body is swimming – so once each part has been in the water, working the tissues and the muscles, then there is no need for therapy because it means the person is wholesome and awesome at the same time.  The trainers at the Blue Sky Oasis warm water pool bear this testimony just from their physique.

And the journey for many of those seeking to change their lifestyles kicks off with the knowledge that swimming can be a big part of their therapy and exercise at the same time.   This got me curious too about the benefits of swimming and I thought of checking them out.

Swimming has been called the perfect exercise. After all, you can get all of the benefits of an aerobic workout without any damaging impact on joints, and it can be done by both the very old and the very young.  Remember our ENEOS hero?  Swimming is utilized by athletes to stay strong and keep fit when recovering from injury, and there is no fancy equipment needed—just you and the deep blue at GMC Funplace.

So, let’s take a big breath, and dive into the 10 benefits of swimming:

1. Swimming improves muscle definition and strength.

Swimmers gain muscle strength throughout the entire body. Where runners see muscle build in their legs, swimmers utilize more muscle groups to move through the water. While the legs kick, the arms pull. As the back reaches and rotates, the stomach tightens to power the legs and stabilize the core, making swimming one of the best aerobic exercises to give you a total body workout.

2. Swimming builds up bone mass

For years, researchers scoffed at the idea that swimming affected bone mass. After all, only weight-bearing exercises were able to achieve this benefit, right? Not according to research published in the Journal of Applied Physiology. Because there are ethical reasons to avoid in-depth bone examination on humans, the study put rats into three groups: running, swimming, and a control group with no exercise stimulation.

While running still showed the highest increase in BMD (Bone Mineral Density), the swimming group also showed benefits over the control group in both BMD and femoral bone weight. While more studies are needed, these new findings show that previous research dismissing swimming’s bone benefits may need to be revisited.

3. Swimming helps you stay flexible.

Swimming requires you to reach, stretch, twist, and pull your way through the water. Your ankles become fins and are stretched with each kick as you push off against the liquid pressure. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still stretch on your own, but repetitive stretching found in your various strokes also helps with flexibility.

4. Swimming reduces inflammation

While swimming’s cardiovascular benefits of strengthening the heart muscle are common knowledge, research also indicates aerobic activities,such as swimming, reduce inflammation that leads to atherosclerosis[3] build-up in the heart.

5. Swimming holds its own for calories burned

Everyone knows that swimming is a great way to burn calories, but most don’t realize it can be just as efficient as jumping on the treadmill. Depending on the stroke you choose and your intensity, swimming can burn equal or greater calories than running.  Additionally, you don’t have to worry about sweat in your eyes. Did you know that for 10 minutes of swimming you burn 60 calories with the breast stroke, 80 calories with the backstroke, 100 calories with freestyle, and an impressive 150 with the butterfly stroke.  This therefore means that , a strong 30-min butterfly speed session can burn 150 more calories than running a 5K in the same time frame.

6. Swimming can improve exercise-induced asthma.

Nothing is as frustrating as trying to exercise and being unable to get your breath. Unlike working out in dry gym air or braving seasonal pollen counts, however, swimming allows you to breath moist air while you train. Not only does swimming help alleviate asthma symptoms, studies have shown that it can actually improve the overall condition of the lungs.

7. Swimming lowers stress and depression

Swimming can bring about all those feel-good emotions too.  In addition to the happy hormones, you also can feel a relaxation response similar to yoga. This is because swimming stretches your body constantly. Combine this with the deep rhythmic breathing, and you can experience a relaxation rush that’s very unique to the sport.

8. Swimming can make you smarter

Of course all exercise is great for the mind, but can swimming actually make you smarter?  Research from Australia focused on kids who took swimming lessons compared to a control group of non-swimmers. The results showed that kids who regularly participated in swimming were able to master language development, fine motor skills, confidence, and physical development sooner than the control group.

It is on this point that I say it is important to merge both the literacy and therapy celebrations as the world celebrates these two days.  GMC Funplace is a good place to start.  Perhaps you will also learn a thing or two about their great cuisine, relaxing ambience and yes, this is one part of Kitengela that is GREEN!

So see you at the deep end, because am feeling motivated to grab my goggles now, and warm water, ever so inviting.  Alternatively, if you can’t swim, just sit at the pool deck, enjoy your drink and get some therapy just by watching those swimming or the blue in the pool at GMC Funplace…

By Cathrine Khasoa
Cathrine serves as Lead for Public Relations and Media Liaison at Optiven Limited.

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