Swimming facts from the CDC that everyone should know

happy children kids group at swimming pool class learning to swimEmployers, please share this information with your employees.

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) shares valuable information about the benefits of swimming and how to stay safe in the water.
In general:

  • Americans swim hundreds of millions of times each year in pools, oceans, lakes, rivers and hot tubs/spas.
  • Swimming is the most popular recreational activity for children & teens (ages 7-17).
  • Most people have a safe and healthy time enjoying the water, but illnesses and injuries can occur.

Benefits of water-based activity:

  • The benefits of water-based activity outweigh the risks of illness and injury. http://go.usa.gov/cuV8y
  • Water-based exercise can help people with chronic diseases, such as arthritis.
  • Water-based exercise puts little or no stress on joints. In arthritis patients, it improves use of affected joints.
  • Water-based exercise improves mental health—for example it decreases depression and improves mood.
  • Water-based exercise can benefit older adults by improving the quality of life and decreasing disability.
  • Water-based exercise can improve or maintain the bone health of post-menopausal women.
  • Swimming can be a great way to get and stay fit during pregnancy.
  • Water is 4x thicker than air. A 400 yard swim = 1 mile run. Work up to it, get in shape and lose weight.
  • When you are in better physical condition, you can also swim longer distances.
  • You can enjoy your time at the lake or in the pool much more when you are in shape.
  • Don’t be bashful about poor swimming skills, take lessons. You can learn to swim at any age (see the Learn to swim section at the end of this article).
  • Swimming is great exercise. It combines strength, stamina and technique.
  • Swimming and alcohol are never a good combination. If you are going to swim, stay sober.


  • Every day, about 10 people in the U.S. die from drowning. Two of the 10 are under the age of 15 years.
  • In 2010, 726 kids under the age of 15 years died from drowning.
  • Drowning kills more kids 1–4 years old than anything else except birth defects.
  • Nearly 80% of people who die from drowning are male.
  • Get the facts about drowning and water safety: http://go.usa.gov/4wgJ
  • Learn to swim! Formal swimming lessons in children as young as 1 year old can reduce the risk of drowning (see our Learn to swim section at the end of this article).
  • Always supervise children when they are in or around water.
  • Wear a life jacket! Half of all boating deaths could be prevented with the use of life jackets.
  • Don’t use air-filled or foam toys, such as “water wings” or inner-tubes, instead of a life jacket.
  • A fence that completely separates the pool from house and yard can help protect young children from drowning.
  • No matter how strong of a swimmer you are, don’t swim alone.

Learn to swim!

Knowing how to swim can save your child’s life, as well as provide a fun form of exercise. The World’s Largest Swimming Lesson was established in 2010 by the World Waterpark Association. It is a platform to help the global aquatics industry spread awareness about the importance of teaching children to swim to avoid drowning. This year it takes place on Wednesday, June 21. Parents can visit this page on the World’s Largest Swimming Lesson site to find events in their area.  Even if you’re not a child, you’re never too old to learn to swim!


Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World’s Largest Swimming Lesson




Related Reading

Gabriel Padilla