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More women swimming swells rise in people enjoying water-based activity

An increase in the number of women swimming at least twice a month has led to a rise in people taking part in water-based activity, according to new figures.

Sport England’s Active Lives survey reveals almost 4.7 million people aged 16 and over went swimming between May 2018 and 2019.

The total of 4,690,500 is 200,800 more compared with the previous year (4,489,700).

Female participation was the main driver behind the rise, with 123,600 more women (2,655,600) swimming compared with May 2017 to May 2018 (2,532,000).

A total of 2,028,800 men also went swimming in the same period – an increase of 73,200 (1,955,600).

Sport England’s latest Active Lives results show the highest level of activity ever recorded with 1,015,700 more people active now, compared to when the survey started in 2015

Jane Nickerson, Swim England CEO, welcomed the new research and hailed the #LoveSwimming campaign for helping encourage more people to enjoy the physical and mental health benefits of the water.

#LoveSwimming plays key role

Recent waves of #LoveSwimming campaign focused on escaping the stresses of busy life, particularly for women, and ‘prescribing’ swimming to aid a range of medical conditions such as Type 2 Diabetes, arthritis and chronic pain.

As a result of the campaigns, 250,000 people said they would swim more, of which more than 40,000 were considered inactive.

Jane said: “We’re delighted to see Sport England has noticed a significant increase in the number of people swimming in the 12 months between May 2018 and 2019.

“We know from our own statistics that the #LoveSwimming campaign has played a key role in encouraging people to enjoy the many benefits being in the pool can bring.

“By working with our partners to develop our inclusive Water Wellbeing programme, we are also ensuring more and more people with long-term health conditions can be active.

“We will continue to work closely with health professionals to increase understanding of the unique benefits of being active in the water in a bid to achieve our vision of a nation swimming.”

Sport England surveyed 177,876 people for the Active Lives data and the report reveals an increase in activity levels for people with disabilities or long-term health conditions.

Making a real difference

Chief executive Tim Hollingsworth said: “It’s really excellent news that a record number of people are now active every week and that we’re also seeing a significant decrease in the amount of inactive people.

“It shows us that efforts to help more people get active are starting to make a real difference, particularly for older adults, women and those with a disability or long-term health condition.

“Being active has positive benefits for mental and physical wellbeing, strengthens communities and helps build confidence and resilience.

“We urge anyone working towards helping people live healthier lives – whether that’s government policy makers or health professionals – to consider physical activity as a vehicle to help drive positive outcomes, so that everyone can benefit.”

Nigel Adams, Minister for Sport and Civil Society, said: “Every single person in this country should have the opportunity to take part in sport and activity.

“It is not only good for our physical health but it also boosts our mental wellbeing and makes people happier.”

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