Swings are an integral part of everyone’s lives, one way or the other. Both children and adults enjoy the back and forth motion for just a few minutes on the swing- now and then, have some fun. But is it just fun? Or are there some real-life benefits of swinging?
Swings can improve children’s cognitive function. Furthermore, it can develop overall balance and coordination abilities through continuous rhythmic movement.
It is beneficial for children and adults, but it can greatly help out people with autism. Looking into some of the important benefits of swinging and find out why and how they benefit our mental and physical health.
What Are the Benefits of Swinging?
Apart from fresh air pumping those legs on an outdoor swing, a long list of other benefits of swinging induces positive effects on the human body. Here are a few physical benefits and communal benefits of the swing.
● Spatial Awareness
Spatial awareness occurs when you are fully or at least partially aware of what’s going on in your surroundings. Lack of spatial awareness is why some people seem so clumsy and fall victim to accidental mishaps all the time.
In terms of physical benefits, deep receptors all over our body respond to outward stimulation and inform the muscles of necessary changes. While swinging on a swing, the rhythmic motion alerts these motion receptors in your body.
As a result, you directly or indirectly become more connected to your surroundings, which helps you move less clumsily. Most children who enjoy their time on a swing are typically more coordinated than children who don’t.
● Enhanced Manoeuvrability
When you walk, you don’t fall over on your face because you have a particular centre of gravity. This centre of gravity keeps your entire body in balance and helps you to walk and move properly.
Spending time on a swing can actually help to improve your posture in this way. Since your body isn’t touching the ground and you’re moving freely, the centre of gravity can adjust itself in the proper orientation.
You get a better balance and harmony within your body that helps out with your posture and movement.
● Social Interaction
In addition to spatial awareness, swings can help you out with social awareness as well. This is particularly significant for young children who are just starting preschool. There’s no better way than enjoying active play like the swing together, learning skills, making new friends and starting that first conversation with someone.
Also, swings are pretty much mandatory in all playgrounds for this very same reason. To reach out, ask for help, rock someone else’s swing, and then laugh when they abruptly fall – that’s exactly how kids make friends.
Why Do People Enjoy Swings?
The enjoyment of swing isn’t limited to physical and social stimulation only. Here’s why people enjoy swings in general.
● Everyone Loves A Break
Whether you’re at humble abode or at the office (or school, if you’re a kid), it’s so tiring going over the same monotonous work over and over again. In times like this, a little break with a little playtime can really boost your energy.
And that’s where a swing comes in. Even in commercial offices, you’ll often find a little swing corner where the employees can go to chill out for a while. It’s practically an adult version of the little playgrounds for kids.
● Adrenaline Rush
If you have never experienced an adrenaline rush before, try rocking a swing to full speed. When the swing goes way higher than usual and then starts to come back even faster, your heart will race like never before.
Even though it feels terrifying at first, the sudden acceleration produces the sensation of an adrenaline rush later on. You’ll feel a sense of total disarray which will instantly turn into a state of calmness and clarity.
However, exercise proper caution while swinging high. Make sure the swing is completely stable before sitting on it.
Finally, a prominent reason why people enjoy swings is that everyone has some memories attached to them. For example – I made my very first friend on a swing when I was in preschool.
Similarly, people have their own stories that include a swing somehow. And most often than not, they will remember these stories while swinging, which will evolve into a state of total nostalgia and euphoria.
Why Are Swings Relaxing?
In addition to the obvious physical developments, swings are relaxing for a bunch of other reasons as well. For example – the rocking motion makes you sleepy and happy when you are exhausted.
Again, swings made from stretchy material that hugs you when you’re in it give off a super cozy feeling. These types of swings are great for people with separation anxiety and disorders.
Sleeping in a cozy swing while some soft music is on in the background is one of the best feelings in the world. Not only does it help to relax from monotonous activities, but it also helps out with chronic depression and illness.
How Does Swinging Affect the Brain?
Swinging specifically affects the brain in three different ways and has a few cognitive benefits to provide a sense of relief and relaxation. Here’s a brief overview of them.
1. Jump-Starting Your Brain
Swings are a great way to wake up tired and stressed-out nerve cells. Your body isn’t adapted to change in acceleration all of a sudden.
So, when you rock on the swing quite fast, it sends a shiver down your back to alert you of the sudden changes. Your brain jumpstarts itself to be more aware of the surroundings and makes you more alert and focused.
2. Endorphin Boost
Endorphins are why you feel so relaxed and calm at times. Without them, you cannot get rid of the constant stress and anxiety about everything.
Multiple studies have confirmed that swinging helps raise the endorphin level in the human body by triggering the part of the brain that produces endorphins. Swinging de-stresses and purifies the thought process for a while.
3. Fixing Motion Imbalance
There are a few loop-shaped canals in your inner ear that contain fluid to maintain your overall balance. For people with motion sickness, the imbalance in this fluid level causes them to vomit during a car/bus journey.
The reason is that cars move in an arbitrary motion that negatively affects the brain. But swinging maintains a rhythmic movement, and the brain can then send proper signals to balance out the fluid level in the inner ears.
Why Does Swinging Help Autism?
Not a lot of people know that swinging incredibly helps out children and people with autism. Here’s why and how swinging helps with autism.
● Sensory Integration
People with autism generally have a few issues with proper coordination and movements. This is because they find it troublesome to analyze or utilize all their senses simultaneously completely.
On the other hand, Swings are a great way to stimulate a body into believing that it has proper control of the surrounding movements. The rhythmic motion acts as a catalyst to enhance all senses and helps the kid better grasp reality.
For young children, swinging improves body awareness and sensory integration and helps with fine motor skills such as gripping the body and overall head control.
● Calm Attitude
Another prominent feature in an autistic person – restlessness. People with autism will often show behavioural and physical dissatisfaction towards something for no apparent reason.
Regularly spending quality time on a swing can help to minimize this restlessness. The rhythmic back and forth rocking motion can gently calm down a sore mind and bring peace and serenity.
Furthermore, it subconsciously reminds them of the swaddling in their mother’s arms like a baby. So, the brain automatically relaxes, and the person starts to feel safe and secure.
● Muscle Workout
Due to their limitations on the grasp of reality, it’s hard to introduce an autistic person to proper exercising methods like jogging, swimming, etc. This lack of exercise can cause various physical and psychological problems later on.
But if they start to use equipment like a swing from an early age, they can get some form of exercise from it. By slowly encouraging them to use the swing independently, you can improve their spatial awareness and core strength.
Furthermore, if it’s a rock-a-bye swinging, they will start to use their own arms to achieve the swinging motion. And, though that may not appear to be sufficient, this bit of muscle workout can go a long way.
● Improved Attention Span
If someone has autism, they will most likely exhibit ADHD to a certain extent as well. As a result, it’s much harder for them to focus on something for a long time properly.
As mentioned above, swinging can jumpstart your brain that can lead to an increase in productivity. The blood flow rate to the head is greatly enhanced, and there’s a rush of endorphins too.
Both of these activities can help to get rid of the constant fidgeting and twitching in autistic people. Or, at least, minimize its extent for a few hours or so.
- Swinging strengthens the kids’ core grip strength and upper body strength, and coordination.
- Complex learning occurs in the vestibular system providing a balance for children.
- Swings engage the brain with a different perspective and simultaneously requires focus while a child interprets information.
- Children who spend more playtime in swings have better balance than those that don’t swing at all! This will prepare them for monkey bars or other playground equipment later on in life.
- Kids feel like it’s playtime when they’re swinging – which is important to keep their spirits up! It seems like every one of all ages has fun when they are swinging – even adults!
So, what are the benefits of swings? It turns out. Swinging develops mental focus, increased endorphins and improves gross motor skills and fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination profoundly. By stimulating the nerves and muscles from an early age, the swing, with its many benefits, a piece of amazing playground equipment, has solely improved and defined many people’s lives one way or the other.
If you are short on resources but also want to enjoy the benefits of a swing this weekend, you could actually build a simple tyre swing. Read this article for more details.
Thanks for reading this article. I hope it educated you on the importance of swings in a child’s development.
Sources of Information
Danneman, I. (2017, April 14). Up, Up, and Away!: 7 Ways Using a Swing Benefits Your Child with Special Needs. Friendship Circle — Special Needs Blog. https://www.friendshipcircle.org/blog/2017/04/14/7-benefits-using-swing/
Norquist, T. (n.d.). So, What’s the Big Deal about Swinging? Playground Professionals. Retrieved May 13, 2021, from Playground Professionals.com
Koscinski, C. O. (2017, April 19). What are the benefits of autistic swings? Learn how they can help your child. Harkla. https://harkla.co/blogs/special-needs/sensory-swings-autism
Benefits of Swings. (2021). SolvejDesigns. https://solvejswings.com/pages/benefits-of-swings
Kaufman, S. B. (2013, November 11). The Need for Pretend Play in Child Development. Scientific American Blog Network. https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/beautiful-minds/the-need-for-pretend-play-in-child-development/