The healthcare benefits of swimming and aquatic activity for people with long-term health conditions is the focus of an eLearning resource launched by NHS England, in partnership with Swim England.

Research conducted by Swim England has highlighted how healthcare professionals intuitively believe aquatic activity provides unique health benefits, but they lack specific knowledge to make this part of routine conversations with patients. To plug the knowledge gap, a 20-minute eLearning session raises awareness of the benefits of aquatic activity on health and wellbeing, with the hope of enhancing learners’ confidence in identifying who would benefit most.

The resource, also developed in partnership with the Aquatic Therapy Association of Chartered Physiotherapists (ATACP) and University of Nottingham, is aimed at healthcare professionals of all types who may have an influence on an individual’s decision to be active, including social prescribing link workers and leisure professionals. Access is currently available to anyone with an nhs.net, gov.uk or ac.uk account – it is anticipated that universal access will be available by the end of September.

Andrew Power, Swim England water wellbeing specialist, said: “The benefits of swimming and aquatic activity are numerous and being active in water is often recommended for people with a range of long-term health conditions or impairments for a number of reasons.

“However, despite the clear benefits to individuals and communities, water-based activity is an option that can still be overlooked and so it is hoped this eLearning programme will further raise awareness of the importance of activities like swimming, exercise in water and services such as aquatic physiotherapy.”

The introduction of the resource follows the launch of the national governing body’s Swimming as Medicine series earlier this year, which encourages healthcare professionals to consider recommending swimming and aquatic activity to their patients as an effective way of improving health and wellbeing.

Healthcare professionals can be a crucial link in highlighting the opportunities and services that exist in the community to help overcome barriers to physical activity participation – and therefore improved health and wellbeing. The national governing body is keen to see the eLearning resource being accessed widely by healthcare and leisure professionals alike. To find out more about Swim England’s wider work around health and wellbeing, visit the Swim England health and wellbeing hub.

Swim England
SportPark, Pavilion 3
3 Oakwood Drive
Loughborough University
LE11 3QF
Tel. 01509 640 700