If picking up a bag or going for a walk have you grimacing in pain, you might be tempted to avoid exercise altogether. Swimming provides a low-impact workout that won't stress your joints. It can also help loosen up stiff, tight muscles, making it easier for you to daily tasks and vigorous exercises.
Causes of Pain
There's no single cause of muscle pain, so if the pain is severe or has lasted for several days, it's a good idea to chat with your doctor. Osteoarthritis can cause pain in the hip and shoulder joints, but strains and sprains can also be the source of pain, particularly if the pain comes on suddenly. If you've been working out, delayed-onset muscle soreness could be to blame. If you tend to be sedentary and spend most of the day crouched over a computer, this can cause strain in the hips, shoulders and throughout the body.
Swimming Away the Pain
Swimming is a form of aerobic exercise, which means that it works large groups of muscles throughout your body. This can help loosen up your shoulders and hips by working the muscles surrounding them, and the steady strength you'll build can make daily activities easier. Unlike exercises such as running or jumping rope, swimming is low-impact, which means it won't make your joints hurt.
Loosening Your Muscles
Before you begin a swimming workout, you'll need to warm up your muscles with a low-key routine such as a leisurely swim, a walk around the swimming pool or a brief yoga session. Aim for five to 10 minutes of warming up. After your swim, stretch your muscles. If you continue to feel pain in your hips and shoulders, firmly massaging the area can help loosen your muscles even more. Look for muscle knots, and apply steady pressure to these knots.
Swimming Injury Prevention
Swimming poses a risk of drowning, so you should never swim alone or in the dark. The repetitive movements of swimming can occasionally cause shoulder injuries, so if you already have an injury, check with your doctor first. Gentle stretching routines and range of motion exercises such rotating your shoulders and lifting your arms after your workout can help you reduce the risk of swimming-related injuries.
Van Thompson is an attorney and writer. A former martial arts instructor, he holds bachelor's degrees in music and computer science from Westchester University, and a juris doctor from Georgia State University. He is the recipient of numerous writing awards, including a 2009 CALI Legal Writing Award.