Swimming as a Therapeutic Exercise

Swimming can be intense or relaxed.

Swimming can be intense or relaxed.

Swimming is not only fun, it can also be beneficial to your health. In addition to its low-impact nature, swimming is a great therapeutic exercise that can help treat painful conditions such as arthritis and fibromyalgia. Swimming programs are ideal for physical therapy, general fitness and physical and mental well-being. Head down to the local pool or enroll in a bi-weekly class to see if swimming can enrich your life.

General Benefits

According to the United States Water Fitness Association, three of the most important benefits of swimming are buoyancy, resistance and cooling effects. Since about 90 percent of your body is buoyant in the pool, your joints take less stress when exercising in water than they would on land. Water adds more resistance to your movements than the air, making every move you make a resistance exercise. It's difficult to overheat while exercising in water, since your body heat disperses in the pool.

Physical Therapy

According to recent research, swimming can help reduce pain associated with chronic conditions such as arthritis and fibromyalgia. Aerobic exercises tend to be good for joint pain, but doing them in water takes much of the impact away. If you suffer from chronic joint pain or if you're trying to rehab an injury, water exercises offer a great way to build strength slowly and steadily without taxing your body too much.

Psychological Benefits

Swimming can be great for your joints, building cardio and increasing range of motion, but it also has mental benefits. Heading to the local pool is a great way to relieve stress by people-watching and interacting with other swimmers. Swimming can release physical stress and tension, which may help you relieve mental stress. At the end of the day, no matter what your reason for swimming, it's supposed to be a fun activity, so make sure you enjoy yourself.

Considerations

If you're looking to rehab an injury or help deal with chronic pain, it's a good idea to do your research and consult with medical and swimming professionals before diving into the pool. Working with an experienced swim instructor can help you ease into the workout program without injuring yourself. Knowing which strokes will help you and which ones could set you back is extremely important for your physical health.

 

About the Author

Steven Kelliher is an experienced sports writer, technical writer, proofreader and editor based out of the Greater Boston Area. His main area of expertise is in combat sports, as he is a lifelong competitor and active voice in the industry. His interviews with some of the sport's biggest names have appeared on large industry sites such as ESPN.com, as well as his own personal blog.

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