Guidance

Health and wellbeing benefits of swimming

Swim England has released a new report detailing the health benefits of swimming for individuals, communities and population health. Swimming regularly has considerable health and wellbeing benefits in comparison to people who do not engage in swimming.

Key findings

  • Water-based activity has specific advantages over land-based exercise alone.
  • Swimming regularly is associated with a 28% reduced risk of all cause mortality and 41% reduced risk of cardiovascular disease mortality.
  • People who swim for recreational or competitive purposes are eight times more likely to meet the physical activity guidelines compared to those who don’t.
  • Long term swim training can improve cardiorespiratory fitness or endurance in several populations including women during pregnancy, children with asthma and adults with osteoarthritis.

The report is divided into seven chapters, each containing an evidence review for the health benefits of swimming.

  1. The individual health benefits of swimming and other water-based activities
  2. Swimming and mental health benefits
  3. Physiology of swimming and health benefits
  4. Benefits of swimming for communities within a framework of delivering community capacity
  5. The public health benefits of swimming
  6. Benefits of swimming as a sport
  7. The economic case for swimming.

Key gaps in the evidence that have been identified by this review include the use of swimming to increase physical activity, moving the inactive into swimming as a preferred physical activity and using a variety of community swimming venues to promote health and wellbeing at population level.

DOWNLOAD: The health & wellbeing benefits of swimming