Swimming is a great all-round form of physical activity. It's ideal if you want to be more active and stay healthy, whatever your age or fitness level.

A few 30 to 45 minute sessions of moderate to vigorous intensity swimming per week is a great way of working towards your recommended level of physical activity.

Health benefits of swimming

Regular swimming is proven to reduce your risk of serious illnesses, like:

Swimming can also help you to:

  • lose weight
  • improve general flexibility
  • increase strength
  • improve mobility

As well as improving physical health, swimming can also boost your mood and reduce stress levels to improve your mental wellbeing.

Exercising in water means reduced strain on your joints when compared to other exercises like running or football. This makes swimming popular with older people and those with mobility problems. However, swimming is considered a beneficial activity for people of any age or ability.

Starting to swim

Don't worry if you haven't been swimming before or if you even have a fear of water. Your local pool will usually have beginners’ lessons for all ages. This'll help get you started and build your confidence in the water.

Once you become more confident you may want to try pool fitness classes, like water aerobics, or aquafit. These provide similar health benefits to swimming.

For most people, swimming is a safe, accessible and effective form of exercise. If you’re worried about an existing health condition, speak to your GP before you start swimming.

Swimming clubs

If you don't want to go swimming alone, you could bring a friend, take your children or even join a club. Clubs are an excellent way of meeting new people, improving your swimming and motivating you to exercise regularly.

Open-water swimming

For competent swimmers there are opportunities beyond the pool. This is called open-water swimming. This is done in rivers, lochs, lakes and the sea.

Open water swimming can be great fun so long as you take the necessary safety precautions.

Further information

For more information on how to learn to swim or get swimming visit Scottish Swimming.

Last updated:
29 November 2022

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