LIFELONG SWIMMING is a two year long ERASMUS PLUS Sport Project to spread awareness of the benefits of swimming in healthy ageing and enthuse more and more adults and seniors to swimming and aquatic activities. Swimming is an "elixir of long life practice" as it is an aerobic activity which can be safely enjoyed by people of all ages and one of the best exercises for seniors as it allows people to move their bodies without bearing their weight, provides an excellent cardiovascular workout and offers little chance of injury.
The Lifelong Swimming project started in 2015 and will be concluded in December 2016. During the two years the partnership will share knowledge and experiences, compare programs and best practices and develop actions to increase and retain new potential adult and senior swimmers through:
- An Awareness campaign on the lifelong benefits of swimming to be run both on web sites, social networks and in swimming pools. It will be targeted to adults and seniors highlighting the enjoyable aspects of swimming and the wellbeing results of leading an healthy lifestyle.
- H2OpenDays to offer free swimming and aquatic sports tasting sessions and friendly competitions to enthuse more and more over 60s to swimming.
- A Senior Swimming Program focused on older swimmers containing training sessions, specific workouts, nutrition advice and guidelines for the development of senior friendly pools.
- A Train the Trainers Program to disseminate the program with the technical staff of Federations and their affiliated swimming clubs.
- Lifelong Swimming Open Days to be organised in the in the partners’ countries during the European Week of Sport and/or Move Week to promote the benefits of swimming and aquatic sports and the project achievements.
Background to the project
The OECD Report on health 2013 highlights the fact that Life expectancy over 65 has increased significantly which does not necessarily mean that the extra years lived are in good health. It also notes that half of Europe’s adults are overweight or obese: the obesity rate has more than doubled during the past 20 years and the health spending rate is increasing at a faster rate than economic growth.
The main findings of the special Eurobarometer survey (2013) on sport and physical activity show that:
- 41% of Europeans exercise or play sport at least once a week, while an important proportion of EU citizens (59%) never or seldom do so.
- The amount of regular activity that people do tends to decrease with age, notably 71% of women and 70% of men in the 55+ age groups never or seldom exercise or play sport.
- Generally speaking, citizens in the Northern part of the EU are the most physically active. The lowest levels of participation are clustered in the Southern EU Member States.
- Almost three-quarters of EU citizens (74%) say that they are not members of any club.
- The most common reason for engaging in sport or physical activity is to improve health (62%). Other popular reasons include improving fitness (40%), relaxing (36%) and having fun (30%).
In this perspective the Lifelong Swimming project aims to give a contribution to European call for initiatives and good practices to offer new seniors an older people the opportunity to stay healthy longer and age well and also give a contribution to the challenges for the sustainable financing of health care.