A new study looking at the health and wellbeing benefits of swimming was published in June by Swim England.

Swim England plans to use the findings to raise awareness within the health profession that swimming is a safe, cost-effective and viable option to signpost patients to.1 They recommend that water-based exercise prescriptions should be a key consideration for healthcare clinicians, providers and commissioners.

The report found that:

  • Swimming is uniquely placed to support people throughout their entire life
  • Swimming lowers the risk of early death by 28 per cent
  • 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 to

The report shows that the unique benefits of water make it the perfect place for people of all ages to exercise. This is particularly relevant for people who may struggle with land-based activity such as pregnant women and individuals who are overweight, people at risk of falling and people with muscular skeletal conditions such as arthritis. It is also one of the few sports where female participation is greater than that of males.

The benefits of swimming

  • Improves heart health
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Improves lung capacity
  • Reduces joint pain
  • Increases bone strength

Research also shows that being active has a direct role in preventing breast, bowel and womb cancer.2

Jane Nickerson, Swim England CEO, said: “It is evident from the report that swimming has enormous potential to support the health and wellbeing of the nation. The unique properties of water mean that unlike other activities, no one is restricted from taking part.”

Read the full report (pdf)

Physical activity and cancer prevention webinar

Watch our webinar, A Closer Look At: Physical Activity and Cancer Prevention, to find out how physical activity reduces the risk of cancer and how you can support people to move more.


Swim England. The health and wellbeing benefits of swimming (pdf). 2017.

World Cancer Research Fund. Being inactive and cancer risk. 2017.