Fear substantially limits the participation in aquatic activity

Change is  hard. Fear makes change even harder. A study performed by Gallup (n=815) and  presented at the 2008 World Aquatic Health™ Conference by Melon Dash  indicates that 64% of Americans are afraid in deep, open water (lakes, rivers,  ocean,…). Forty six percent are afraid in deep water in pools. Even 39% are  afraid to put their heads under water.

I was talking  to Melon Dash a couple years ago and she said something that has been embedded  in my mind ever since. Melon leads the Miracle Swimming Institute that focuses  on training swim instructors to help fearful adults become swimmers. She said  something like, “When you think you are going to die, you are not thinking  about proper stroke technique.” When my kids were in swim classes, a lot of the  focus was on strokes.  Overcoming change  is already a substantial barrier for most people. Overcoming fear is an even  greater obstacle.

It seems  reasonable to surmise that if an individual is afraid of a specific  environment, it is less likely that they would advocate participating in  activities in that environment or purchasing a swimming pool. If that  individual has influence on purchasing decisions in the family, it is  reasonable to conclude that over half of American households may oppose the  idea of engaging in aquatic activities or investing in a pool or hot tub.  Donate to swim programs that help the fearful like the Miracle  Swimming Institute or S.O.A.P.  (Strategies for Overcoming Aquatic Phobias).  Or, donate to  the Step Into Swim™ Campaign that will raise money for  programs like these and other learn-to-swim programs.

Come learn about these programs at the 2012 World Aquatic Health Conference in Norfolk, VA on October 10-12.   Getting more people in the water benefits everyone!

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