The long-awaited live-action “The Little Mermaid” movie, featuring Halle Bailey, has finally dropped. With such high anticipation for the movie, it is bound to have influence in areas that transcend Disney princesses. Bailey playing a previously white character has in itself inspired many little girls and boys watching. The representation of a Black mermaid specifically, could easily increase interest in swimming within the Black community.

Swimming Disparities

Historically, there have been disparities in swimming accessibility for Black people. The imbalance can be attributed to several factors. Many of those are socio-economic including limited access to aquatic facilities, a lack of swimming education and other historical barriers. In the United States, Black children specifically tend to have lower swimming proficiency rates compared to their white counterparts. A study conducted by the USA Swimming Foundation and the University of Memphis in 2017 showed that nearly 64% of African American children had no or low swimming ability. That’s compared to 40% of white children.

Isaac Robertson is the Co-Founder and Chief Editor of online fitness resource Total Shape. He believes the new Disney release will likely inspire a new generation swimmers. 

“Halle Bailey has already struck a chord with children and adults alike, who feel she is the perfect choice to play the underwater princess,” Robertson said. “And since many children aspire to be just like their favorite Disney princess, hopefully this movie will encourage a new generation of people to take up swimming, which is a great all-around activity for your physical and cardiovascular health.” 

Benefits of Swimming

Learning how to swim has several benefits. On top of it being one of the only sports that can help you save a life, it provides health benefits as well. The sport engages almost all major muscle groups, giving you a complete body workout. It strengthens muscles, improves flexibility, and enhances overall muscle tone.

Swimming also increases heart rate and improves lung capacity. Adding swimming into your fitness routine can enhance cardiovascular endurance, lower blood pressure, and reduce the risk of heart disease. Due to the amount of breath control needed for swimming, it can also strengthen respiratory muscles and increase lung capacity. It may benefit individuals with asthma or other respiratory conditions.

Swimming is an all around great choice for people of all ages. The Little Mermaid movie may inspire an entire generation of Black children to start splashing. Not only for fun but for the betterment of their health!