Active NAtion

The Lockeroom

Learning To Swim As An Adult

For those of us lucky enough to have learnt how to swim at a young age, from our parents, siblings or in our school environment, we may take for granted that everyone knows how to swim. This isn’t the case, however, and in 2012, statistics showed that in the UK, 20,000 children would leave primary school unable to swim, with 40% of those children having never been offered lessons. With little opportunity to learn after this point, one in five people reach adulthood without this skill – that’s up to nine million people over the age of fourteen.

Swimming safety

Drowning Prevention Week is run by the Royal Life Saving Society UK, and will be held this year from 14-24 June. Over 700 people drown in the UK and Ireland every year, with many more suffering life-changing injury because of a non-fatal drowning experience. Adults never having learnt to swim is the leading cause of accidental death in this country. Luckily, this can all be avoided.

Water Confidence and Aquaphobia

Many people suffer with anxiety at the idea of learning how to swim as an adult. There are many contributing factors to this: how much will it cost? How much time will it take for me to learn? How much of a commitment will I have to make, and what other activities will I have to sacrifice in order to learn? Will I feel self-conscious? Will I have to wear floats? Will I be made to feel like a child? What if I get it wrong? What if I fail? Many people suffer with aquaphobia including famous faces like Jennifer Aniston, Zayn Malik and Carmen Electra (who ironically became famous playing a life guard on Baywatch!).

Adults Learning To Swim Course

Active Nation has teamed up with Swim England to bring adults a course designed to get them in the water, starting with a Be Water Confident programme. Led by experienced instructors, this course is perfect for adults who may either have no previous swimming experience, or who have had a negative experience involving water in the past. Below are examples of some of the tips adults will learn during the course to tackle their fear of swimming:

1. Start by getting your feet wet and try to gradually get deeper into the water

2. When you can stand in water deep enough, splash water on your face as if you are washing it. At the same time think of positive images.

3. Next try to learn to hold your breath under the water and breathe out blowing bubbles into the water.

4. Hold the side of the pool and practice kicking your legs with your body stretched out.

5. Don’t feel rushed to make progress.

6. And finally, remember you are not alone.

The Benefits of Swimming

As well as the safety aspects of learning how to swim, swimming has great benefits for all areas of health, both physically and mentally. It can improve your heart and lung health, flexibility and strength, and balance and posture too. Although beginners may suffer anxiety at the thought for getting into a pool, once conquered, swimming can help to improve overall anxiety issues. Regular swimming has shown to lower stress levels, reduce depression and improve sleep quality.

What’s wonderful about swimming is that once learnt, you won’t forget it! It’s never too late to start. Contact your nearest venue for more details about adult swimming lessons.

About the author

Active Nation

We’re Active Nation, a registered charity who are wholeheartedly committed to a bold and exciting mission to persuade the nation to be active.

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