Swimming in the sea helps me relax and ‘wash the cares of the world away’

A new report commissioned by Swim England has revealed how swimming is having a huge impact on the health and wellbeing of the nation. Here, Amy Moule explains why she values swimming.

When Amy Moule gets overwhelmed with everything in life, she simply goes swimming and lets the sea ‘wash the cares of the world away’.

Having battled Bipolar since she was 19, mum-of-two Amy, from Bournemouth, found the perfect way to tackle her depression after having a major relapse four years ago.

“I started going swimming in the sea and it was the only time I did not feel suicidal,” she said. “I started going every day and gradually began feeling better.”

Amy’s story backs up research in the Swim England’s Value of Swimming report, which states that 1.4 million adults feel swimming has significantly reduced their anxiety or depression.

In addition, swimming outdoors more than doubles the happiness of swimming indoors – with open water swimmers feeling 8.9 per cent happier than indoor swimmers (4.3 per cent).

The Value of Swimming findings also details the vital role swimming plays in preventing, and treating, physical and mental health conditions.

In the most rigorous research ever conducted by a national governing body, Swim England has revealed that swimming is saving the NHS and social care system £357 million a year.

Almost £34 million pounds of that total is in the South West region alone with the savings made up from:

  • Dementia £13,256,880
  • CHD Stroke £9,504,386
  • Reduced GP visits £4,849,593
  • Diabetes £3,557,388
  • Colon cancer £991,166
  • Breast cancer £933,882
  • Depression £902,670

Amy, who says she has always loved to be in the water, turned to swimming in the sea when she found her medication and electric shock therapy were not helping to alleviate her symptoms.

“Cold water swims help repair and relax you,” she said. “It’s definitely become a passion and a medicine for me.

Reset button I rely on

“Going in the sea is a reset button I rely on. I get so overwhelmed with everything going on in my head and the world so I just get in the sea and let all the cares of the world wash away.

“It has an instant effect. It does not cure everything but it gives you an instant lift.

“Swimming in the sea is a life lesson. You have to go with the flow and trust that the water holds you.

“On a physical level, you put your body through the stress of going into the cold water and that helps you learn how to deal with stress response.

“So, the stress of going into the sea can help you deal with the stresses of life better.”

Amy’s doctors are also fully supportive of her using swimming as a coping mechanism – and as a way of helping to treat her back after an operation.

The 41-year-old, who swims three or four times a week, said: “One of my doctors is an outdoor swimmer and my other doctor is also very supportive of me swimming.

“I had a back operation in between having two children. The osteopath suggested sitting in a bath of cold water every day but I preferred to be in the sea.

“The cold water reduces the inflammation and encourages the body to repair. That did really help.

“Swimming is keeping me steady – it’s a leveller.

“The water is wonderfully calming and soothing. Swimming really helped me get my life back.”