Learn to swim as an adult

20 April 2017 by
First published: 18 September 2016

We spoke to an expert about how and why you should learn to swim as an adult. As to start with, swimming is one of the healthiest hobbies going. It gives you greater stamina, works the majority of your muscles and is very soothing for both the mind and the body. Despite this, one in five UK adults cannot swim. We quizzed Swimming Nature instructor Scott Findlay to find out why adults should take the plunge and learn to swim.

What are the benefits of learning to swim?

Swimming is one of life’s most important skills, one that may save your life. Reductions in the likelihood of developing chronic diseases are but a few of the health benefits possible by regularly swimming. It is also a great way of providing muscle tone without stressing the muscles too much.

Why do you think adults are put off by swimming lessons?

I know from personal experience that fear and embarrassment are the most common causes of avoiding swimming lessons. There is absolutely no need for you to experience either. Most people learn to swim at some stage in their life, it just happens that you are doing it later. Any swim teacher will be very understanding and do their best to make it an enjoyable experience for you.

How can working adults fit learning to swim in their busy schedules?

It can be difficult with a 9-5 job to fit in things that aren’t seen as essential. One thing you can do is to make swimming a priority. If you enjoy it, use it as a means of relaxing. If it is a way to build fitness or if you are learning to swim, then reward yourself for making time for it. There are usually early morning and lunchtime lane sessions at most pools so get out there and find one.

Can adults with long term injuries learn to swim without making them worse?

Swimming is a good way of keeping active while injured without placing unwanted stress on the body. Just be careful and if something hurts consult a health professional before continuing.

Can there be a social aspect to swimming?

Absolutely! In most public sessions you will see people at the side having a rest and a catch up. This is a great opportunity to meet swimmers of similar abilities that can help motivate you to come more often.

How often should people swim to get the full health benefits from it?

This depends on your fitness levels already. The national guidelines for exercise (ages 19-64) are at least 150 minutes of moderate activity per week.

What can someone do if they feel particularly nervous about water but want to learn?

The best thing you can do is to get in contact with a swim school. They can alleviate any concerns and help put your mind at ease. The head office at Swimming Nature are brilliant and will do their best to help you out.

What is the best equipment to help someone learn outside of lessons?

A pull buoy is one of the best pieces of equipment for ensuring good arm technique. It sits in-between your legs while you swim, bringing them up onto the surface allowing you to concentrate on just your arms and breathing.

Is swimming a good way to lose weight when your metabolism has slowed?

Swimming is a great non weight-bearing form of exercise, but requires good technique and form. Efficient exercise will raise your heart rate so that your body burns fat. If you have good technique you may be able to lose weight through performing faster and longer swims.

What advice would you give to an adult who wants to learn to swim but hasn’t yet?

Just do it! Set yourself a goal, plan when you want to achieve it by and go get it. Even if that goal is to book in lessons by next Tuesday, that’s still a goal.


Want to give it a try? Swimming Nature is available at select Fitness First clubs.