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New report reveals how outdoor swimming helps boost people’s mental health

Two-thirds of outdoor swimmers say the activity is essential or very important to their mental health, according to a new report.

Outdoor Swimmer magazine’s Trends in Outdoor Swimming report has also revealed that the number of participants taking part in the activity grew by around 1.5 to three times in 2020.

The number of women swimming outdoors rose from 50 per cent in 2017 to 65 per cent in 2020, while it has also raised people’s awareness of environmental issues and 70 per cent say they are now more concerned about water pollution.

A total of 2,196 responses from new and regular outdoor swimmers were collated as part of the survey.

While the report highlighted many positives, it also stated that many businesses had been ‘affected by the coronavirus pandemic in widely different ways’.

Simon Griffiths, the founder and publisher of Outdoor Swimmer, said in his foreword to the report: “Outdoor swimming is important.

“Outdoor swimming is an activity that brings its participants a long list of benefits and much joy.

“It’s uplifting to be part of such an exciting, vibrant and positive sector.

“We show almost everyone who swims outside says it supports their mental and physical health, it keeps them fit and is important for their social lives.

“Outdoor swimming is not something that you do. Being an outdoor swimmer is something that you are.

Pleasing signs

“It is something that shapes your life and the decisions you make, from what you eat and wear to where you go on holiday and, for some people, even where they choose to live.

“Moreover, becoming an outdoor swimmer may change how you think about a range of issues such as climate change, the environment and pollution.

“It could make you a more caring person as well as a healthier and happier one.”

Jane Nickerson, Swim England chief executive, said: “Outdoor Swimmer’s Trends in Outdoor Swimming report provides some very pleasing signs.

“It’s great to see that more people are taking part in open water swimming and realising and enjoying the many physical and mental health benefits that it can bring.

“The coronavirus pandemic has clearly had an impact on the sector but the fact only one per cent of people liked it less than they thought they would shows plenty of optimism for it to hopefully recover and grow further in the future.”

Outdoor Swimmer magazine offer

Swim England members can get three issues of Outdoor Swimmer magazine for the price of one when you purchase a subscription.

The recognised national governing body has partnered with Outdoor Swimmer to set up this exclusive offer for its members.

Outdoor Swimmer is a glossy magazine packed with inspiring stories, wild swimming locations and destinations, training, technique and safety advice plus tested gear and kit reviews.

By becoming a subscriber, you will get Outdoor Swimmer delivered to your door every month as well as a host of other benefits, including access to the digital edition and special offers.

Find out more and sign up by clicking here.