Adults, it's never too late

Learning to swim: Adults, it is never too late to take the plunge

Swimming and aquatic activities are a major part of Australian life. After all, 'our home is girt by sea' so knowing basic swimming techniques and water safety skills is paramount for our wellbeing.

As many as 5 per cent of adult Australians, or more than a million people, are unable to swim and have never had any form of swimming lessons, according to Royal Life Saving Australia.

This could be because they have never had the opportunity to learn how to swim due to finance, lack of aquatic facilities or cultural differences, or simply because they are too embarrassed to take up lessons now they are in adulthood.

But, as we approach summer, it's a timely reminder to adults that it's never too late to learn how to swim.

At first, being in the water may feel strange, unfamiliar, and even a little worrying. But with time you'll gain a level of confidence you may have previously thought unimaginable.

AUSTSWIM Growth, Delivery and Participation general manager Jared Wilson said water safety and survival skills were paramount in Australia.

"The key point is, the longer someone leaves swimming lessons, the longer they expose themselves to a risk around water," he said.

Here are a few tips:

Find an aquatic facility you are comfortable with, whether that's at the beach, in a private pool or public lake.

If you don't like crowds, book your lessons during school hours or off-peak times.

Private lessons may be better for one person while a group learn-to-swim environment may be better for another.

"Look for a teacher who respects the right for you to learn at your own pace and respects your fears," Mr Wilson said.

"Make sure the lessons are providing value for money.

"You might take up lessons because you are looking to learn how to swim and survive, improve stroke techniques, for fitness, to overcome fear of the water, or training for triathlons, but know your goal and work towards it."

Gaining confidence and becoming a proficient swimmer requires that you spend sufficient time in the water.

Equip yourself with the correct gear. You'll find it's much easier to see underwater and avoid irritated eyes if you wear goggles. Pair these with a swimming cap and you will have no problems with hair in your eyes.

Once you learn how to swim, you'll be able to enjoy a variety of benefits, including social, physical and safety.

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