swimming in open water

The benefits for all of swimming: in pool, open air or open water

Why should you swim? The many benefits!

New Forest beaches are especially good for open water swimming.

Ed note: My friend Clare wrote this article for us some time ago. Its main message about the many benefits of swimming is as true as ever, meanwhile, open water swimming particularly is a rapidly increasingly popular activity which is well suited to many of our New Forest beaches. So we've made some updates and republished it for 2022. 

Rejuvenate, revitalise, relax - and stay safe!

swimming in open water

"Swimming - rejuvenate, revitalise and relax. Swimming will improve your strength, stamina and suppleness. It uses every muscle in your body and exercises your joints. The effects of buoyancy in holding the body up in the water make it an ideal activity for people with injuries and disabilities. Swimming and being in the water is great medicine for stress. Swimming is an activity suited for the whole family. All ages of the family can participate in some shape or form.

Swimming keeps us safe, the ability to swim and being aware of a few personal survival techniques is an essential life skill. This awareness and knowledge keep us safe around water.

Where can you swim?

There are many places around Lymington and the surrounding local area where you can swim. The previously New Forest District Council-run centres are now all managed by Freedom Leisure and there are 5 centres in the area. They are Applemore, Lymington, New Milton, Ringwood and Totton. Each centre has a 25m indoor pool and a learner pool. They have a range of sessions to suit everyone’s needs, from aquababes, children and adult lessons, rookies and lifesaving, aquafit, swimfit, therapy, disability swimming and triathlon training to inflatable fun time. They also have swimming clubs using the facilities for both training and competing.

person swimming in pool

Additionally, a number of hotels in the area have swimming facilities. Carey’s Manor, Elmers Court, Limewood, Chewton Glen, Rhinefield House, New Park Manor, and Bartley Lodge Hotel, Balmer Lawn, Forest Lodge Hotel, Passford House, Moorhill House, Sway Manor and Burley Manor Hotel.

Swimming in the open air

If you enjoy the open-air experience we in Lymington have our own salt water baths. Open May to September, operating a full programme of activities from triathlon club to kayaking. What a great place to spend the day in the sun and water with the safety of lifeguards around.

Swimming in the open water

Swimming in the open water is a great exercise Open water sites in our area are numerous, participation in open water swimming has grown rapidly in the past few years, and open water swimming is one of the fastest growing sports. The benefits of seawater bathing have been recognised for centuries, the Romans enjoyed it, and the Victorians developed many of our coastal towns in order to participate in such a pastime.

Sites such as Milford on Sea, Hordle, Barton on Sea, Highcliffe, Calshot and Lepe, are perfect locally for sea swimming. It doesn’t matter if you are an 80-year-old taking a dip, a 3-year-old taking a paddle, a 10-year-old playing in the waves, or a seriously keen triathlete, it is all the same. The sheer sense of sea space, allows the mind and body to relax, sea swimming is never a constant, the range of variables wash around you; waves, wind, seaweed, sunshine, tide and salt. It is a far more rewarding and challenging environment to swim in than a pool. The water makes you more buoyant and invigorates you.

If the sea is not for you, we also have the New Forest Water Park at Ellingham lake, where a range of activities take place, from swimming to wakeboarding and water skiing to triathlon training and kayaking."


Clare Poynter for lymington.com, originally published in April 2014, now updated for 2022


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