Luton man backs campaign highlighting the benefits of swimming

A 33-year-old man from Luton has given his support to a national campaign highlighting the benefits of swimming for physical health.

Matt Grice has bipolar and an anxiety disorder which resulted in him becoming agoraphobic and rarely leaving the house, as a result he became completely inactive and the weight piled on.

Matt Grice at his local pool

Matt Grice at his local pool

His Dr recommended he try hydrotherapy and swimming to lose weight, after he was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, elevated blood pressure and high cholesterol. Since he started swimming his diabetes is now in the ‘normal’ range, his blood pressure and cholesterol are under control and he has lost over 25kg.

Speaking about the campaign, Matt said: “I’m thrilled to be part of the Love Swimming campaign and share my story in the hopes that it will inspire others to take up swimming.

“Swimming has improved my physical health beyond belief – I can now do something as simple as walk around a supermarket and sleep in bed all night long. My mental health has also vastly improved and I’m in a much, much better place.”

Matt’s story was part of a wider campaign by Swim England and their 12 partners as part of World Health Day (7 April). The national governing body urged the medical profession to be more proactive in prescribing swimming as part of a programme of activity to manage medical conditions and aid recovery.

The current Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, has called for a “culture shift” and for medical professionals to act on the evidence that activity, such as swimming or long walks, can cut the risk of illness and boost survival from major diseases.

Elaine McNish, Head of Health and Wellbeing at Swim England, said: “Swimming is an ideal activity which can help people manage a range of medical conditions and we are calling on the medical profession to consider recommending swimming to people who would benefit from improved physical health.

“To have the support of people like Matt who’ve experienced the benefits swimming can have is fantastic and I sincerely hope it inspires others to try swimming and transform their physical health.

“As the government and medical profession increasingly move to prescribe exercise as a conduit to improved physical health, we believe that swimming and wider aquatic activity is increasingly the answer for many people and are today calling on health professionals to consider prescribing swimming in ever increasing numbers.”