Hello everyone, As the weather warms, we are more tempted to get into the water and swim as a form of exercise.
Swimming is a wonderful non-weight bearing exercise for whole-body fitness. Regular swimming for 20 minutes or more in a session will increase cardiovascular fitness and improve upper and lower body strength and power. Because swimming is non-weight bearing and gentle on the joints, it is possible to swim even if you are not able to run due to pain. Despite the obvious benefits, many people do not swim on a regular basis. A primary barrier is the inconvenience of getting to a pool at times when lap swimming is possible. If, however, regular swimming is appealing, planning and targeted goals can help you become a regular swimmer.
Swimming is also a wonderful way of rehabilitating shoulder injuries in the later stages of a rehabilitation program and lower limb injuries in the early stages.
7 key benefits of swimming post-injury or for fitness
- Less pressure on the joints. The buoyancy of the water helps support your body weight by taking pressure off the joints. This is an effective way to start a rehab program for weight bearing joints – such as the knees – in the initial stages when you want to get some weight bearing but not enough to overload the joint
- Increase in muscle strength and endurance, water is far more resistive than air which allows for the strengthening of weak muscles.
- Improving flexibility, often joints can, and muscles will move and stretch more in the water without the heaviness of the body weight
- Decrease in pain, warm water reduces pain in the muscles and joints, promoting blood supply to the affected area
- Improving aerobic capacity, working against the resistance of the water at speed will increase the heart rate and improve cardiovascular fitness
- Decrease in swelling, the hydrostatic pressure of the water can help reduce swelling to injured areas of the body
- Reducing stress and promoting relaxation
Water therapy is a safe way to treat chronic pain and in particular people who suffer from arthritis including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Water-based exercise can help improve the range of movement and strength of affected arthritis joints without aggravating symptoms.
All the best, Deb