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Blog guest: Professor Dr Zlatko Ahmetović

Swimming and skiing – for a quality life of children and their families!

With all his skills and experience he was the boss in the world of swimming at the time of former SFRY, as I was still learning how to make my “first strokes” in the pool. He taught me all I know. About swimming, jumping, moving, about life. I’m still

learning. He has incorporated his vision of a healthy lifestyle, swimming, training technology, social aspects of developments in physical education and higher education at the Faculty of Sports and Tourism – Tims, Novi Sad (Serbia). His name is Professor Dr Zlatko Ahmetović, the founder of Tims, a full-time university professor, Emeritus.

As a passionate fan of swimming and skiing, Professor speaks for the Swimming Dad as our #Blog guest how swimming and skiing are his partners in developing and educating children from their earliest age. He also talks about the values of swimming and skiing and their benefits for the overall concept of care in bio-psycho-social development of people, especially the youngest ones. He speaks about the role of parents and family and what parents can learn as they swim and ski with their

children.


In life, a man crawls, walks, runs, climbs, throws and jumps. Those moves prove the man’s ability to live. Thanks to the ability to move, the biological species that walk in the upright position, called human, LIVES. There are indeed many situations that humans deal with by applying or combining some of the basic natural types of movement mentioned above.

Humans are also powerful predators, able to live near water, on high mountains, at the temperatures far below and far above zero, in urban but also rural areas.. and by doing so, humans adapt to the specific conditions of those particular environments and learn and acquire the knowledge necessary for that type of life. In a variety of different skills, we will focus on: SWIMMING and SKIING. Yes, for those living near water, who use the water and get food from the water.. it is of utmost importance to know how to swim. For those living on mountains it is equally important to know how to move in the snow and how to ski. But humans, as they are, are predators who, unlike the other predators, also use their intelligence. At one point, humans realised that many physical activities, particularly swimming and skiing, apart from their practical value, might even have some more valuable benefits for them.


So, what are those values of SWIMMING and SKIING and what would be the benefits that would recommend them for the overall concept of care in bio-psycho-social development of people, especially the youngest ones?


Firstly: Both swimming and skiing are locomotor activities that provoke the participation of a large number of muscle units and activate the energy processes ensured by such muscle activities. Both swimming and skiing contribute to the development of motor skills in people: they develop their coordination, flexibility, specific strength.. they contribute to the development of respiratory and energy abilities, to the development of their immunological capacities, the capacities of socialising, they encourage self-esteem and the competitive spirit… Therefore, these are the activities which, once they become a regular life habit, could contribute to a better life quality of a modern human. We can conclude here that, like most other habits in children, they are acquired if exercised from the earliest period of life. So, both swimming and skiing are perfect activities for acquiring those healthy habits.

Secondly: Both swimming and skiing are locomotor activities that a human MUST learn. Learning motor skills is a process of understanding and memorising and has the same value as learning how to recite, for example. Swimming and skiing are therefore learnt through different processes: registering spatial and temporal information on concrete moves, then mental processing of the information, and finally their endless repetition. However, it is important to know how to use a learnt move in swimming or skiing in constantly changing conditions: a water surface with or without waves, cold or warm water, rivers, pools, or the sea… different settings… or deep snow, hard track, bumpy or smooth slopes, different angles.. these are all the particularities requiring a constant cognitive activity and, in the respect, also the development of the ability to adapt. Practicing these activities from an early age contributes to the capacities of adapting, specifically to the natural environment.


Thirdly: the new-age life concept of a modern human roughly boils down to the struggle to survive.. and more often than not, a consequence of such a lifestyle is ALIENATION, when people build walls around themselves and don’t foster social relations.. both on the general and on the family level. In that respect, the activities connecting parents and children, creating and fostering their emotional relations become invaluable for the development and growth of the young people. Swimming and skiing are exactly those activities that could make the family gather again, the families and people in general.

Fourthly: We should not neglect one of the fundamental human needs: the need to PROVE OURSELVES. We all have the need to prove ourselves, to be better than the others and be creative. Both swimming and skiing can give us that.


Those are SWIMMING and SKIING. Sports and social activities at the same time. Good for our body and our mind. Good for fostering the life within a group. Loving SKIING and SWIMMING and practicing them means having a good foundation for a healthy and meaningful life.

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