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Swim England releases new fact sheets on mental health, diabetes and skin conditions

Swim England has increased its range of health fact sheets to provide guidance on supporting swimmers with diabetes, mental health and skin conditions.

These fact sheets are helping to clear up some of the misconceptions people may have around being in water and identifying the benefits of exercising in water.

Following the publication of the Health and Wellbeing Benefits of Swimming report, Swim England’s Health Commission group is working collaboratively to produce fact sheets on swimming with particular health conditions.

Earlier in the year, information on swimming with asthma, dementia, eplilepsy, glandular fever and ear infection were released, helping competitive swimmers, the general public and those who support swimmers, such as coaches, carers or health professionals, to be better informed about exercising in the water.

Working in partnership with Mind, the mental health charity, the fact sheet on mental health and swimming offers advice on dealing with anxiety, body consciousness and general wellbeing.

Elaine McNish, Swim England’s Head of Health and Wellbeing, said: “Everyone has a state of mental health, just as they have physical health.

“Approximately one in four people will experience a mental health problem in any given year.

“However, swimming has been shown to significantly reduce the symptoms of anxiety or depression for 1.4 million adults in Britain.

“We hope the mental health fact sheets will help swimmers – and those supporting them – to understand the wide-ranging benefits of exercising in the water.”

Swimming with diabetes

Swimming has also been identified as a valuable form of exercise for people living with diabetes.

It can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and help manage blood sugar levels for those with Type 2 and gestational diabetes.

Swim England worked with Diabetes UK to provide comprehensive advice on swimming with diabetes, including in open water and if swimming abroad.

Emma Elvin, Senior Clinical Advisor at Diabetes UK, said: “We know that being more active can help protect the body against diabetes complications such as heart disease and, with 4.7 million people living with diabetes in the UK, it’s so important people with diabetes have the right information to make informed choices about their physical activity.

“But we know many people with diabetes face barriers to becoming more active, so we hope that these fact sheets will not only provide some valuable information to encourage people with diabetes to take up swimming, but also raise awareness of diabetes among swimming coaches so they can provide a supportive environment for people living with the condition to become more active with confidence.”

The ‘skin conditions and swimming’ fact sheet offers guidance on maintaining the integrity of skin, which can prove a challenge for many people who swim in chlorine-treated water.

With chlorine acting as an anti-infective agent that tends to dry the skin, it is important to keep well hydrated, moisturise and shower after swimming.

This fact sheet also delves into specific skin conditions, including eczema, psoriasis, athlete’s foot and more.

All fact sheets are now available to download on the Swim England website.

Please contact health@swimming.org to discuss these further with a member of the Swim England Health and Wellbeing team.

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