Swim England

A nation swimming

'Being in the water is a lifeline for people with mobility issues to get active'

While pools are shut during the latest national lockdown, Swim England is leading the charge for them to be classed as essential services to help millions of people who rely on the water to get active.

In the final article focusing on how aquatic activity can help ease a variety of debilitating conditions, social enterprise Good Boost details why pools provide a respite for so many.

Swimming pools are a ‘lifeline’ for people with numerous joint, mobility and disabilities to stay active and keep moving – and must ‘urgently’ reopen as soon as possible.

Ben Wilkins, the CEO at Good Boost and MSK Clinical Champion at Versus Arthritis, insisted aquatic activity is the only form of exercise a number of people can do due to a range of medical conditions.

Swim England has worked with Good Boost to develop an exercise rehabilitation app that can be used on poolside to help people with back pain and arthritis.

The app creates personalised exercise sessions which can be viewed while in the pool on waterproof tablet computers.

They can be adapted and personalised based on an individual’s preferences, condition and ability – turning pools into therapeutic spaces where people who can’t exercise on land can flourish.

Ben said: “During the lockdowns, we have continued to receive messages from Good Boost participants around the country asking us when pools will be back open and when Good Boost is starting again.

“They are messaging us to say that being in the water is their only respite and that as they have been out of the water for so long, they have found themselves stiff and losing mobility.

Free boost for app

A home-based version of the Good Boost app is now available free of charge for the first two months of use.

It is ideal for anyone with long-term health conditions to use during the current lockdown or if they are unable to access swimming pools for any reason.

To access the app and find out more, visit www.goodboost.org/land

“We work with participants with a broad range of musculoskeletal conditions and, for many of them, being in the water is the only way they can move in order to manage their conditions and maintain their mobility.

“Pools are for more than swimming – they are the lifelines for people with numerous joint, mobility and disabilities to stay active and keep moving.

“Reopening pools as soon as possible is an urgent matter to ensure people across the nation can maintain their health and wellbeing.”

Sarah Cox, a specialist in rehabilitation and aquatic physiotherapy rehabilitation, and tutor for the Aquatic Therapists Association of Chartered Physiotherapists and Swim England, added: “With pools closed, the health benefits, mental health and wellbeing routines, including important social opportunities for every age, has been lost.

“We really must be ready to move the patients from this healthcare crisis safely and appropriately into self-management and engagement in water-based activity as soon as is possible.”