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Regular swimming saves the NHS more than £357 million pounds each year.

Updated: Mar 16, 2020

For generations, people of all ages have benefitted from swimming. But an in-depth piece of research from Swim England has made it clearer than ever that water-based activity is having a life-changing impact on society.

The Value of Swimming report revealed how swimming positively contributes to physical and mental wellbeing, individual and community development and helps to reduce the burden to the UK's health and social care system.

The report found that regular swimming saves the NHS more than 357 million pounds each year, reducing the number of visits to GP's and reducing the dependance on care for a range of conditions.

According to the analysis, the largest health savings are made in the areas of dementia (£139,546,106), strokes (£100,046,173), diabetes (£37,446,191), colon cancer (£10,433,330), breast cancer (£9,830,341) and depression (£9,501,792).

Swim England Chief Executive, Jane Nickerson said, "Swim England is incredibly proud of this research which helps us confirm what those of us who work in swimming already know to be true - that swimming is incredibly valuable."

"Valuable both to the individuals who we know are healthier and happier because of swimming and also valuable to society - helping to ease the pressures on our precious NHS and build more connected communities."

"The report makes several important recommendations and I'll be banging the drum for swimming to ensure we can get a nation swimming and maximising the number of people enjoying all the benefits and the fun that being active in the pool provides."

"The Government must invest in the next generation of facilities to ensure we have the right water space, in the right places, to enable swimming to take place."

The Value of Swimming report also highlighted the valuable role swimming plays in improving the happiness of young people. 1.88 million children aged 7-16 year olds in England who swim, rate a 'higher feeling of life being worthwhile', compared to those who don't swim.

This serves as further evidence of the importance school swimming can have in a child's development. Above all else, school swimming presents the only opportunity for some children to learn the vital life-saving skill.

Jane added, "We must stop failing our children and start taking school swimming seriously as it's unacceptable that one in four children leave primary school unable to swim, despite it being part of the national curriculum for 25 years now. "We at Swim England will continue to play our part but it is only with concerted action in partnership with government, health professionals and the wider swimming sector that we can get a nation swimming and ensure that everyone enjoys the resulting benefits."

The Value of Swimming report follows Swim England's fifth wave of the #LoveSwimming campaign.

The latest chapter of the national movement celebrated the achievements of adults who have conquered a fear of water or learnt to swim at a later age.

Helen Mbaziira was the star of the campaign film, revealing how she had felt helpless when her daughter was struggling in a swimming pool. She said, "That's what has motivated me and inspired me to learn to swim as an adult. "If there is no publicly associated stigma, at least there is an internal stigma from myself. I'm worried about what people might think of me and why I haven't been able to swim up until this point. I am trying to be an inspiration to other people out there - that no matter how old you are, regardless of your age, you can still pursue your dreams."

"It has always been my goal, my dream to be able to swim and I've gone for it. I am very proud of myself."

Featuring inspiring stories from everyday people across England, the Love Swimming campaign reached more than one million people through Swim England social channels. Most importantly, it prompted a conversation on removing the barriers to swimming.

Martin Barnes learnt to swim after being referred to the pool by his doctor to help treat Ankylosing Spondylitis - a condition in which the spine becomes inflamed. He said, "When I got to 60, I had the time to get involved and I wanted to give it a go. I was little nervous but the fact that it was adult swimming lessons comforted me as I was with people in the same boat. It's a no-shame environment as you're around people who have been in the same position."

"New people come into our lessons and it's great to give them support. I wouldn't have wanted to go with others that could do it as you just have that feeling of embarrassment but there was nothing to be ashamed of. Swimming has definitely helped my back - it's been a big contribution to helping this. "My spine stiffens up and so swimming has been brilliant to release this and stop it from being stiff."


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