As divers, the liberating feeling we get from swimming in the deep is something else.
And now a new YouGov study commissioned by Swim England has found that swimming can have a positive impact on mental health.
The poll revealed that swimming has significantly reduced symptoms of anxiety or depression for 1.4m adults in Britain.
Almost half a million (492,000) British adults with mental health conditions who swim say that they have reduced the number of visits to a medical professional about their mental health thanks to swimming.
The research also uncovered that 490,000 people have reduced, or no longer take, medication for their mental health condition as a result of swimming. In addition, results showed that around 3.3m British adults with mental health problems swim regularly – at least once every 2-3 weeks.
When queried about the impact swimming has on their day-to-day life, 43 per cent of this group of regular swimmers say it makes them feel happier, 26 per cent are more motivated to complete daily tasks and 15 per cent believe life feels more manageable.
Hayley Jarvis, head of physical activity for mental health charity Mind, said: “We all know that doing physical activities like swimming is good for our bodies. But our physical health and mental health are closely linked and we know from our own Get Set to Go programme that being physically active can also be very beneficial for our mental health too.
“If you’re more active there’s good evidence to suggest that at most ages, there’s a trend towards lower rates of depression. In fact, one study has found that by increasing your activity levels from doing nothing, to exercising at least three times a week, you can reduce your risk of depression by up to 30 per cent.”
The study coincided with World Mental Health Day this week as Swim England announced that it has helped to launch the #LoveSwimming ‘Escape’ campaign to encourage more adults to embrace the the pool for stress relief.
Mind, the mental health charity, estimates that every year, one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem.
Main image: Stock photo by Jeremy Bishop