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Outdoor Swimming Trends 2021

Outdoor swimming is not just something you do. Being an outdoor swimmer is something that you are.

Outdoor Swimmer magazine’s first annual Trends in Outdoor Swimming Report shows that thousands of people took up outdoor swimming during the coronavirus pandemic and that for many it is a massive support to their physical and mental health during challenging times.

The new report found that 69.4% of people say outdoor swimming is essential or very important to their mental health and 20% of outdoor swimmers started to support their mental health and general wellbeing.

The report, released on 8 February 2021 reveals the finding of Outdoor Swimmer’s survey of more than 2000 new and regular outdoor swimmers, interviews with leading figures in the world of outdoor swimming and desk research.

Key themes emerging from the report include the growth in female participation (up from 50% in 2017 to 65% in 2020), a huge demand for winter swimming and the positive association between outdoor swimming and well-being.

In addition, it also showed that becoming an outdoor swimmer raises people’s awareness of environmental issues and encourages them to take action to reduce pollution and environmental damage.

While outdoor swimming boomed in 2020, many of small and independent businesses working in the sector had a torrid time.

These include event companies, swimming travel businesses and swimming coaches. Nearly all events were cancelled, travel was practically non-existent, and venue and pool closures, along with restrictions on physical interactions and group sizes, severely hampered coaches’ ability to operate.

Looking forward, there is a mixture of optimism and caution. Once people start swimming outdoors, the majority have a positive experience and only 1% like it less than they thought they would – they are therefore likely to continue. However, the current lockdown will have long-term consequences for businesses in the sector that some will struggle to recover from.

Find out more at: www.outdoorswimmer.com

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About Outdoor Swimmer

Outdoor Swimmer is the leading print and online publication for people who swim outdoors. It covers all aspects of swimming outside, from wild swimming to swimming holidays and long distance challenges, and it’s relevant to anyone who’s interested in outdoor swimming whether they are just starting out or have multiple English Channel crossings to their name. 

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