Front crawl, butterfly, and backstroke your way to better mental and physical health

Health benefits of swimming

Whether you walk through the waves or jump off the dock, there’s no better way to cool off than going for a swim.

This summer, as you escape the sweltering heat in one of Ontario’s lakes, think about these head-to-toe benefits your body is receiving from that dip:

Graphics on swimming

Benefits for your brain

Relaxes: Floating in the water dulls the sensory information that can overwhelm, creating feelings of calm.


Reduces stress: The rhythmic pattern of swimming provides meditative benefits as you focus on synchronizing your breathing with your body movement.

Benefits for your body

Easy on your joints: Swimming is a low-impact exercise which is a good option for people recovering from injuries or with joint pain.

Increases muscle strength and tone: The water provides resistance so that every movement becomes a resistance exercise and helps increase muscular strength and tone.

kids jumping into water

Head-to-toe workout: Nearly all of your muscles are used while swimming, making it an excellent all-over body workout.

Increases flexibility: Swimming helps your body achieve a wide range of motion, and is effective at stretching and lengthening your muscles from head to toe as you swim forward.

swimmers at Lake Superior

Expands your lung capacity: Controlled breathing during strokes combined with a great aerobic workout makes swimming great for your lungs.

Discover Ontario’s crystal clear lakes:

Find a swimming area near you using the Park Locator Tool.  For more information on swimming in different parks, check out the “Activities” tab on the individual park pages or dive into one of these suggested swimming areas:

Pancake Bay Provincial Park

Pancake Bay beach

Located on the shores of Lake Superior, this park’s 3.2 km sandy beach is one of the province’s finest. The bay is sheltered from the open lake making its brilliant blue waters the perfect retreat on a summer’s day.

Blue Lake Provincial Park

Blue Lake beach

This park is renowned for its crystal clear waters and long sandy beach. Plenty of shade is offered by a nearby stand of red pine.

Darlington Provincial Park

family with kite on Darlington beach

Located close to Toronto along the shores of Lake Ontario, Darlington offers a beautiful stretch of sandy beach (perfect for families!).     

Long Point Provincial Park

kids on Long Point beach

Located along the shores of Lake Erie, Long Point features a 2 km long sandy beach with warm waters.   

Mikisew Provincial Park

This park features three sandy beaches along the shores of Eagle Lake. The lake is also great for boating, paddling and fishing.

While you are there, check out their new 18 hole disc golf course!

Windy Lake Provincial Park

windsurfer at Windy Lake beach

Windy Lake Provincial Park has one of the most popular beaches in the Sudbury area. Why? Its scenic views, crystal clear water, and the opportunity to windsurf, or paddle with your pooch at the dog beach.

PFD Lending Program

Visit one of 67 participating parks and borrow a PFD free of charge. Ask park staff about borrowing a PFD, PARKsmart helps ensure both children and adults are safe when enjoying any water-related activities.

Healthy Parks, Healthy People

Research shows that spending time in nature is good for our physical and mental health and swimming is just one of the ways to include more nature in our lives. This is why Ontario Parks has embraced the worldwide Healthy Parks, Healthy People movement which encourages everyone to spend more time in nature.

In celebration of the Healthy Parks, Healthy People movement, Ontario Parks is offering FREE day use at all Ontario Parks on July 19, 2019 — the perfect time to visit some parks and discover a new swimming hole!