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Groundbreaking study shows the wellness benefits of swimming

Groundbreaking study shows the wellness benefits of swimming
July 2, 2017

A world first study that evidences the health and well-being benefits of swimming has just been released.

Commissioned by Swim England, the report takes an in-depth look at the unique benefits that water delivers for people of all ages to exercise, finding that exercising in water is particularly beneficial for those with long term health conditions.

The Health and Wellbeing Benefits of Swimming report shows that:

• Swimming is uniquely placed to support people throughout their entire life
• Swimming lowers the risk of early death by 28%
• Swimming lessons help children to develop skills quicker
• Swimming and aquatic activity is a safe, cost-effective and viable option for healthcare professionals to signpost patients
• More research is needed on the impact of physical activity on mental health and long term conditions

Undertaken by the Swimming and Health Commission, the report shows that the unique benefits of water make it the perfect place for people of all ages to exercise, particularly those with long term health conditions.

The report also found evidence that swimmers live longer and regular swimming helps older people stay mentally and physically fit. Importantly, it also showed that participation in swimming lessons can help children to develop physical, cognitive and social skills quicker than those who do not have lessons.

Mindful that once-a-week participation in children 16 had fallen by three-quarters of a million in the past decade, Swim England is encouraging the public to swim for pleasure, recreation and/or as a sport.

As part of this initiative, Swim England established the Swimming and Health Commission to explore the evidence base regarding the health benefits of swimming.

The Commission is chaired by Professor Ian Cumming, Chief Executive of Health Education England.

Commenting on the findings in the report, Professor Cumming stated “(this) academic report is a ground-breaking collection of papers that identify striking and robust evidence for the significant improvements in health and quality of life that swimming produces.

“Swim England is the first sport governing body to support such an in-depth investigation of its relationship with health and wellbeing and I would like to applaud them for their foresight and for producing a piece of work that I am sure will become a reference document for many years to come.”

The findings of the report will be used to raise awareness within the health profession that swimming is a safe, cost effective and viable option to signpost patients.

There is also a call on the wider health and sports sector to come together and invest in further research on the impact of physical activity on mental health and long term conditions.

Swimming is unique because it can support people throughout their entire life, with water’s unique benefits making it the perfect place for all ages to exercise.  

Water is a non-weight baring form of physical activity and is accessible to all people despite health conditions that may hold them back in other forms of exercise (obesity, musculoskeletal issues). In addition, swimming is associated with a lower risk of early death by 28% and can benefit those with long term health conditions.

Children who have taken regular swimming lessons have shown to develop quicker physically, cognitively, and socially than their peers who are not in the water. Lessons are also associated with a reduced risk in drowning.

Click here to view the full Health and Wellbeing Benefits of Swimming report. 

Images: Swimming exercise at Sydney's Prince Alfred Park Pool (top) and an Aquaspin class (below).

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