- Australia is surrounded by water and swimming is one of many great passions.
- As well as being fun, swimming is a great way to keep fit, stay healthy and make friends.
- Is one of the most popular sports in Australia.
- Is a healthy activity that you can continue for a lifetime, has many physical and mental health benefits and is a great recreational activity for people of all ages.
- Can provide you with a low-impact workout and it’s also a good way to relax and feel good.
- Provides a great workout for the whole body including the arms, back and shoulders.
- Keeps your heart rate up, but takes some of the impact stress off your body.
- Builds endurance, muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness.
- Helps maintain a healthy weight, healthy heart and lungs.
- Is a relaxing and peaceful form of exercise, alleviating stress.
- Improves coordination, balance, flexibility and posture.
- Provides good low-impact therapy for some injuries and conditions.
- Provides a pleasant way to cool down on a hot day.
- Is available in many places – you can swim in swimming pools, beaches, lakes, dams and rivers. Make sure that the environment you choose to swim in is safe.
- Is safe for people of any age who have asthma as long as it does not trigger asthma symptoms. If you have asthma, you should discuss swimming with your doctor before diving into any strenuous pool activities.
Tragically, there were 45 drowning deaths on beaches, and 51 drowning deaths in the ocean or a harbour in Australia, from 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020.
There are a number of risks associated with swimming in the ocean including:
- Dangerous waves (plunging, dumping and surging waves).
- Being caught in a rip current.
- Tide movements, especially when it is going out.
- Spinal injuries caused by being dumped head-first by a wave, diving head-first into the water or jumping off rocks and hitting submerged objects other than the sea floor.
To make sure you stay safe when swimming in the ocean within Australia, you should:
- Always swim between the red and yellow flags on patrolled beaches.
- Look for signs at the entrance to the beach for local information.
- Never swim alone, always swim with someone else.
- Never swim under the influence of alcohol or after a big meal.
- Make sure you know how to swim.
- Choose a safe environment.
- Warm up and stretch your muscles and joints before entering the water.
- Have plenty of fluids on hand and drink regularly.
- Don’t overdo it if you’re just starting out.
- See your doctor if you haven’t exercised for a long time.
- For more information on swimming safely in the ocean go to Surf Life Saving.
- Surf Life Saving Australia is a community cause committed to reducing coastal drownings by 2025. Every day, lifesavers rescue 30 people and they conduct 451 preventative actions every hour.
References: healthdirect.gov.au; sls.com.au; and betterhealth.vic.gov.au.