Last updated:6th June 2018


Swimming can be great for AS

It improves your general fitness, flexibility and strength in a safe, low impact environment.

 Remember it's important to swim using the right stroke and good technique

Swimming strokes

Front crawl is considered the best stroke if you have AS.

Your body position remains extended throughout, including your neck, and  your spine rotates gently.

Do try to include some back crawl in a session. This helps with opening the chest and ensures your shoulders rotate anti-clockwise.

Strokes to avoid

  • Butterfly stroke can cause excessive arching of the lower back
  • Breast stroke can putsexcessive strain on the neck and lower back and the leg kick can inflame the hips and pelvis.

Weekly swimming sessions

After a few weeks of going swimming a couple of times a week for 30 minute sessions, try to add an extra weekly session.

Once you know you can do 3 x 30 minute sessions a week then start to increase your distances and speed. Only do this once you know that you can swim strongly without inflamming your joints.

What to include in a swimming session

  • Start by swimming at a gentle pace for 5 minutes to warm up
  • Do some stretching in the water for a couple of minutes
  • Swim hard for 20 minutes
  • Add in a few lengths of back crawl to help balance shoulder rotation and open up your chest.
  • Finish with a 5 minute warm down


Once you feel strong enough and are starting to gain benefit from your sessions there are lots of different opportunities to take your swimming further.

If you like the idea of swimming in open water take a look at our swimming events pages for ideas on how you can support NASS.

If you're more of a pool person then have a look at SwimBritain.






Your privacy is important to us. We want to be sure you know how and why we use your data. View our Privacy Statement for more details. This also includes information on how we use cookies.