This blog is excerpted from two National Spine Health Foundation articles: Swimming as Exercise: Cross-Training and Rehabilitation, and Aquatic Physical Therapy: Why It May Be Right for You.
Swimming as exercise is a great option. It’s not just feeling good that matters, but the actual results on the body. Swimming is effective for several reasons, including:
- Improved cardiovascular fitness. Ever tried to sprint a few pool laps? It’s no joke!
- More effective recovery. It gives your muscles a chance to recover a bit from more strenuous workouts.
- Preventing injury. The buoyancy of water makes swimming nearly weightless, so you aren’t putting pressure on the spine or other joints.
- Rehabilitation efforts. When recovering from any kind of bodily injury, regular workouts are often unavailable. Whether it’s spine surgery or a hurt shoulder, water provides the perfect environment to rehabilitate and get stronger again.
Aquatic physical therapy can do a world of good for the person suffering from spine health issues, especially those dealing with back pain. In fact, sometimes aquatic therapy is the only thing that may not cause any pain.
A few more ways aquatic therapy can help include:
- Improving balance
- Increasing flexibility
- Building muscle strength
- Healing fractured bones
- Helping with aerobic performance
- Improving circulation
One study found that twice-weekly aquatic therapy over one month caused blood pressure and resting pulse rates to decrease.
While it can be a bit of extra work to put on a suit and get in a pool, the benefits of aquatic therapy are worth it. Because of the buoyancy of water, the weight of the body is reduced, allowing easier movement and exercise without the normal strain one might feel.
Finding a way to fit swimming into your regular exercise routine is a good idea. Many YMCA’s and gyms have indoor pools as part of their membership. The good news is, most people don’t use swimming as part of their routine, so you can usually find a lane to use. If you are looking for new options in your journey to healing, swimming and aquatic therapy may be your next step.
Read the three National Spine Health Foundation articles here: