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Swim England relaunch health fact sheets with more in development

Swim England is relaunching its swimming with health conditions fact sheets to coincide with Social Prescribing Day.

There are approximately eight million people across the UK living with asthma, while there are around 850,000 people with dementia and up to one per cent of the population living with epilepsy in England.

The fact sheets currently available cover those three conditions as well as diabetes, ear infection, glandular fever, mental health and skin conditions.

They were developed in 2018-19 with support from members of the Swimming and Health Commission and other partners, with a further fact sheet later released named ‘Swimming after the Covid-19 pandemic’.

After almost three years of existence, the fact sheets are now going through a review process to ensure that the information is technically accurate and up to date.

Versions on asthma, dementia, epilepsy, ear infection and glandular fever have already been reviewed and the updated resources are available on Swim England’s Just Swim hub.

The national governing body is also working on three new fact sheets for cancer, stroke and those who may be waiting for, or have had, surgery of different forms, described as ‘perioperative care’.

This will take the total number of fact sheets to 12, which should be available for download by May this year.

Superb resources written by technical experts

Andrew Power, Swim England water wellbeing specialist, explained that the current resources have been viewed more than 130,000 times and downloaded by more than 10,000 members of the public and professionals since launching in May 2019.

He said: “The fact sheets are superb resources written by technical experts, which means they are of the highest possible quality and have certainly proven popular so far.

“A lot has happened since 2019 obviously, so we wanted to ensure that the fact sheets were accurate and up to date almost three years on and so the review process started in December.

“Thanks go to organisations like University of Nottingham, Alzheimer’s Society, Diabetes UK, Mind, the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities, Aquatic Therapy Association of Chartered Physiotherapists, Versus Arthritis, Good Boost, British Society for Lifestyle Medicine, Royal College of GPs and with other significant individual contributors from other organisations.

“Without the immense amount of goodwill and energy which has gone into the development of such a wide range of condition specific fact sheets, this work would simply not have been possible.”

Fiona Moffatt, Associate Professor and Director of Postgraduate Research for the School of Health Sciences at the University of Nottingham, authored fact sheets on asthma and swimming.

Professor Moffatt also supported the development and review of many others and she has explained the significance of the fact sheets.

Invaluable, accessible and evidence-based information

She said: “Supporting people to participate in physical activity and exercise is at the core of our work in the University Of Nottingham School Of Health Sciences.

“We have been delighted to work with our colleagues at Swim England to develop fact sheets that enable people into the water, and allow them to access the considerable benefits that the aquatic environment offers.

“From past experience, we know that these fact sheets have real impact, providing invaluable, accessible and evidence-based information for members of the public and healthcare professionals.”

The fact sheets have also proven to be a useful resource for healthcare professionals, just as much as for members of the public and the swimming community.

They have been recognised as high quality resources by the Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine, who manage the Moving Medicine physical activity platform which has been used by more than 100,000 healthcare professionals to date.

The platform has incorporated the swimming fact sheets as patient information resources to support social prescribing discussions between healthcare professionals and patients on being more active and using swimming as an option.

Reviews of the diabetes, mental health and skin conditions fact sheets are set to be completed soon, with the Covid-19 fact sheet being the final version to be reviewed by the end of June.

More information:

  • For more information on the fact sheets or other aspects of Swim England’s health and wellbeing work, contact health@swimming.org
  • For fact sheets aimed at members of the public, click here.
  • For fact sheets aimed at those who support swimmers, such as GPs, nurses, physiotherapists and social prescribing link workers, head to the Swim England Health and Wellbeing hub.
  • For more information on Social Prescribing Day, click here.
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