Can I go swimming outdoors?

The Government has explicitly permitted swimming outdoors from May 13th. This decision has sent the outdoor swimming community into a spin. Just because we can, should we? And how can we keep people safe?

It's the announcement we were all waiting for, permission to pack out togs, hop in our cars and head to our favourite outdoor swimming spots. But while many outdoor swimmers are planning their much-awaited swims, others are saying that they won't be partaking. Why not?

The case for

Let's start with the reasons to go for a swim. The benefits to our health and wellbeing are many and they are substantial. The mental health benefits, in particular, are needed now more than ever as we try to cope with lockdown, loss, illness, loneliness and anxiety.

For those of us who struggle with poor mental health and those of us coping with mental illness as well as some physical complaints and auto-immune conditions, swimming outdoors in cold water has almost magical restorative qualities. Even for those of us who have good mental health and live in nice homes with people we love, escape and me-time is invaluable.