One of the UK’s leading dementia research charities is calling on people to make a splash for science by signing up for a new swimming challenge.
Alzheimer’s Research UK has launched Swimming Down Dementia, which challenges supporters to swim a distance of their choice between September 1 and October 31 and raise money for pioneering dementia research.
Swimming Down Dementia follows on from the charity’s other virtual sporting challenges, Running Down Dementia and Cycling Down Dementia. Running Down Dementia has raised more than £1million in four years, while Cycling Down Dementia has raised £275,000 in two years.
More than half of UK adults know someone with dementia and it is the country’s leading cause of death. Most commonly caused by Alzheimer’s disease, dementia affects people’s memory, behaviour and personality. Today, there are no effective treatments to slow, stop or prevent diseases like Alzheimer’s, but researchers are working hard to change that.
Alzheimer’s Research UK is raising funds to power dementia research in the UK and across the world, to help bring about the first life-changing treatments for the condition.
When someone signs up for Swimming Down Dementia, they create their own supporter page where people can see their progress and sponsor them. Participants can connect tracking apps such as Strava or MapMyFitness to their supporter page to track and record their swims or can manually add swims.
Participants can split up their target distance into whatever chunks they like and can clock up the kilometres in a pool or, if they are a seasoned outdoor swimmer, in the sea or a lake.
Julia Sobik, Senior Sporting Events & Partnerships Manager at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:
“There are 850,000 people with dementia in the UK and the condition has a devastating effect on hundreds of thousands of families. Alzheimer’s and the other forms of dementia are now one of society’s biggest medical challenges, but with research, they can be overcome.
“Everyone who takes on the Swimming Down Dementia challenge will be helping us in our mission to make life-changing research breakthroughs for people with dementia.”
Emily Cast is taking on the Swimming Down Dementia challenge in honour of her grandmother who has mixed dementia.
The 25-year-old swam for Kent as a teenager and would often train twice a day to prepare for competitions. She now swims for fitness and leisure and says raising money for dementia research will motivate her to get in the pool more often.
She said: “Knowing I’m doing this for my amazing granny will really help me to keep going and clock up the lengths.
“Taking time out in the pool helps me de-stress. I love the mindfulness side of swimming that you don’t have to concentrate on anything as you go through the water and you can really switch off. You can go into your own thoughts and I find it really peaceful.
“Even though I don’t compete anymore, I still find swimming is the best way for me to keep fit, with no impact on my joints. I also love the satisfaction you get from it, knowing that after a swim I have probably pushed myself harder than I ever would in a gym.
“It’s great to be combining an activity that I love and is good for me with supporting a cause that is so important.”
To sign up for Swimming Down Dementia go to www.swimmingdowndementia.org
Anyone who raises £200 will receive a free Alzheimer’s Research UK swimming cap and participants who raise £400 will receive a free #TeamARUK technical T-shirt.
For further information about Alzheimer’s Research UK visit www.alzheimersresearchuk.org