It’s official. Swimming makes you 35% more happy!

British Gas SwimBritain LaunchA scientific study has confirmed what I’ve known for a long time. Swimming really does make you feel less depressed. 

Certainly I can testify to the positive mental aspects of swimming. After a business I ran went under in 2009, I found myself in a very dark place indeed. Only by going on a break swimming in The Lake District did I finally start to recover from my depression.

And every day I feel down, I just take myself off to the local pool or lido for a dip (outdoors is best in my opinion – even if it’s raining.)

It seems the study agrees with me. It found that by taking a regular dip at your local pool can make you feel happier as well as healthier, with participants reporting an increase of 35% in positivity over the four week period.

Commissioned by British Gas SwimBritain and conducted by Mindlab International, the study also revealed increased levels of sleep quality (+40%), energy levels (+51%) and fitness levels (+15%) during the course of the month.

Commenting on the study, Olympic Swimmer Becky Adlington said: “Swimming is obviously close to my heart and it’s my goal to help the nation rediscover their love of the water, so this research is really good news for the sport, and something I’ve always known anyway!

“The fact that it has significant benefits both in body and mind is a great reason to get back in the pool,” she added.

The study consisted of 36 UK based adults who were new to swimming and was conducted between 24th February 2014 and 11th April 2014. All participants were studied for a period of 4 weeks and monitored for their levels of happiness, moods and sleep quality.

Tests took place twice a week over the course of the study, using a well-being scale to measure percentage changes in feelings of positivity and negativity and explicit responses for sleep quality, diet, energy and fitness levels and quality of family interactions.

British Gas SwimBritain is a fun relay challenge taking place this summer, which is encouraging as many people as possible to give themselves a swimming goal. For more information go to the Swim Britain website.