Swimming is a great all-round form of physical activity. It's ideal if you want to be more active and stay healthy, whatever your age or fitness level. A few 30-45 minute sessions of moderate to vigorous intensity swimming per week is a great way of working towards your recommended level of physical activity.

Health benefits

Regular swimming is proven to reduce your risk of serious illnesses, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke. It can also help you lose weight, improve general flexibility, strength and mobility. As well as improving physical health, swimming can also boost your mood and reduce stress levels to improve your mental wellbeing.

Exercising in water means reduced strain on your joints when compared to other exercises like running or football. This makes swimming popular with older people and those with mobility problems, but swimming is considered a beneficial activity for people of any age or ability.

Get started

Don't worry if you haven't swam before or even have a fear of water. Your local pool will likely have beginners’ lessons for all ages which will help get you started and build your confidence in the water. Once you become more confident you may want to try pool fitness classes, such as water aerobics, or aquafit, which provide similar health benefits to swimming.

If you don't want to go alone, you could bring a friend, take your children or even join a club. Clubs are an excellent way of meeting new people, improving your swimming and motivating you to exercise regularly.

For competent swimmers there are opportunities beyond the pool, this is called open-water swimming such as rivers, lochs, lakes and the sea. Open water swimming can be great fun so long as you take the necessary safety precautions.

For most people, swimming is a safe, accessible and effective form of exercise. If you’re worried about an existing health condition, see your GP before you start swimming.

Further information

For more information on how to learn to swim or get swimming visit Scottish Swimming

Last updated:
30 April 2020

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