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This may not be the exact quote from Greg Glassman, founder of Crossfit, but it is close. The concept is profound as it relates to the maintaining health and fitness. Do we really need more lifeguards (doctors/medicine) or do we need more people learning how to swim (take care of their bodies). When it comes to swimming we teach our children, at a young age, to be safe in the water. There are an increasing number of programs with the purpose of making children safe in the water, such as Infant Swim (http://www.infantswim.com). Parents are taking the responsibility to teach their children a basic skill necessary for survival as well as pleasure throughout their life. There is not an assumption that there will always be a lifeguard at every pool or a life vest at every beach.
When it comes to overall health, the doctor can be seen as the lifeguard. We continue to push for greater access to doctors, better medicines to treat diseases, but do we really teach our children about how to be healthy and how to care for their bodies. Sure hygiene is one thing but how much time do we spend on how our bodies move, how to cook and use food properly. Since we are a land based species maybe we take for granted how to navigate on land and what to eat. GPS and the drive-thru further erode what skill we might possess. It might be safe to say 10,000 years ago man probably had much better skills on how to care for his body then today. She had to there was not any lifeguards.
Running, jumping, lifting heavy stuff and playing are all things our bodies were designed to do but less and less time is spent on those activities and little is taught about their importance. The skill required to sprint or lift something heavy can be just as important as how to swim when it comes to overall health. Ooops didn’t see that cab coming and need to dart across the street or you son just decided to be a hockey goalie, which means loading up one heavy bag for practice. It is nice when the physical demands of everyday life are easy, just like swimming.
Is poor nutrition the cause of the increase in allergies and asthma-no. Is there a link between the two-yes. Do more children die from asthma or drowning, yep asthma. I am happy to be a lifeguard and they are certainly needed, but there are days I wish more of my patients could swim.