Letter: Swim For Exercise

The Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments is considering a “Walk Bike BCD Plan” for the area. The plan that calls for 546 additional miles of paths, 767 miles of paved bike lanes and 101 miles of marked routes. It also calls for more sidewalks and other improvements.

Additional modes of transportation are certainly welcome. However, there is another path that Charleston City Council can follow to improve the health, recreation options, and safety of residents. Last year, columnist Brian Hicks wrote that 70 percent of black children in Charleston cannot swim, and that 40 percent of white children and 60 percent of Latino children cannot save themselves in the water.

The Lowcountry is characterized by water but our people can’t swim. This public health crisis needs to be addressed as soon as possible. Expanding and renovating the city’s public swimming pools should be a priority.

Mobility is a key to fitness, and swimming is adaptable to nearly every condition of life.

Physicians frequently prescribe it as therapy for people recovering from surgeries and numerous illnesses. Unlike walking, biking or running, it does no harm.

And people can continue to swim or exercise in the water as they grow older. To be able to swim, or at least to avoid drowning, is as vital a public safety issue as fire prevention. The issue is how to expand swimming fitness, recreation, and water safety with the same sort of initiatives proposed for bike and walking trails.

With new representatives on City Council, we recommend that the council investigate and address the inadequate state of the area’s public swimming pools. There are not enough pools for the size of our growing population, and the pools we have are underused. The W.L. Stephens Aquatic Center is the city’s only permanent year-round indoor public pool. Built in the 1970s, this facility is overcrowded, out of date and not up to code.

Martin Luther King Pool is an outdoor pool that is adapted to indoor winter use by the installation of a removable cover. The new Herbert Hasell Pool and the James Island Pool are seasonal — open from Memorial Day to Labor Day only. Temporary covers could transform them into year-round facilities. In addition, refurbishing the Stephens Aquatic Center will turn this hard-used amenity into a facility that lives up to the expectations of its many users.

Upgraded and expanded pool facilities can go far toward improving the health and safety of residents.

We recommend that City Council start gathering information regarding the impact of swimming on public health and consider ways to aid us and our fellow citizens to live healthier and happier in our much-loved Lowcountry.

Suzanne Krebsbach

Alexander Moore

Old Plantation Road

Charleston

Source : http://www.postandcourier.com/opinion/letters_to_editor/letter-swim-for-exercise/article_dda9b318-cf9e-11e7-921f-0f51e3617ebd.html

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