Did you know there really is a 6th sense? The vestibular sense comes from the inner ear and is the movement, gravity and balance sense which allows children and adults to stay balanced and uprigh tduring physical activity. Children who learn to swim before the age of 5 show a heightened vestibular sense and better balance than children who’ve had no introduction to swimming. Strengthening this sense while learning to swim has lifelong benefits and helps advance kids in all areas of physical activity, both in and out of a water environment.
Every person requires vestibular sensory input to progress their natural development and exposure to vestibular, or different movement, inputs in infancy helps promote a natural and healthy development that works to integrate all body systems.
The vestibular system enables coordination, balance, and motor planning both in water and out of water environments. Movement activates the vestibular system helping us processes movements which allows us to become aware of our bodies in the world around us, even if we’re not actively thinking about it.
How does swimming fit into this??
Swimming helps to promote the development of sensory integration and motor development in young children because they’re exposed to different movements and head positioning while moving through a water environment, which allows for different movements then their usual on-land environment. As students learn kicking and strokes, their vestibular sense helps to facilitate a horizontal body position while also coordinating their legs and arms in proper stroke rhythm