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The benefits of swimming as a form of exercise are well known. It’s great for all-around health, burns calories and tones your body. Plus, like other forms of exercise, swimming can also help improve mood and promote a good night’s sleep.
But did you know that swimming is also an excellent choice for those looking for a rehabilitation exercise? If you’ve recently suffered an injury and are dealing with physical after-effects, swimming might be a good option to help you during the recovery period. However, it’s vital to seek proper medical advice before starting any recovery exercise.
You might also be struggling with the emotional impact of an accident or perhaps going through the process of a personal injury claim, all of which can cause a degree of stress. Swimming can provide a sense of relaxation that could help boost your mental health.
Swimming has even been recommended by GPs to their patients. So, we’ll explore the reasons why swimming is the activity of choice for those needing healing.
It’s easy on your joints
Unlike other forms of exercise such as running, aerobics or sports, swimming offers a way of keeping fit without any weight or pressure on your joints.
The buoyancy of the water acts as a support to your body, meaning there’s little stress placed on any one particular part. You also have a choice of swimming strokes so, depending on your injury, you should be able to find one that suits you.
Swimming allows you to continue to stay active without risking further strain to the injury. Being in the water shouldn’t increase any pain associated with an injury, unlike some other forms of exercise.
This means that it’s relatively safe for many people with injuries, though it’s still important to get signed off by a medical professional before participating in any exercise.
It stretches the body
Some of those with injuries might find it difficult to stay mobile. But swimming gives the body an opportunity to stretch gently without straining the muscles. This, in turn, can help speed up the recovery process.
It’s always a good idea to take time to stretch before you swim and warm up your muscles, this will increase your flexibility and mobility in your hips, shoulders, chest and legs.
You’re in control
When dealing with an injury, it’s important to listen to your body and stay within your movement limits. Swimming allows you to adjust the intensity with the aid of the water making it easy to back off a little if needed.
Your muscles, bones, and joints benefit from the buoyancy of the water, allowing for freer and more comfortable movement. You have complete control over the exercise’s intensity, allowing you to address your recuperation needs more effectively.
Public swimming pools and recreation centres do encourage socialising. Being socially engaged is good for your mind and sense of wellness, and meeting and interacting with new people will be especially beneficial if you’re in recovery.
Leisure centres are fantastic locations to meet new people, whether it’s by competing a class, or participating in water aerobics there is much opportunity to be social.
It Improves Sleep
Swimming is an accessible exercise for all and is a good choice for people who want to improve their sleep. Swimming may have the ability to help you get a better night’s sleep, a study on older adults with insomnia, reported a boost in quality of life and sleep after engaging in regular aerobic exercise.
It can help you stay positive
Suffering an injury can be frustrating, especially if you’re used to taking part in intense, regular activity.
Not only can swimming help boost your mood, it can also help you maintain your fitness levels while you recover. And, because it’s gentle on the body, there’s less risk of you relapsing and missing out on even more time away from your favourite sport.
Endorphins, which are released during swimming, help to boost positivity and a sense of well-being and happiness. According to one study, even simply being in water improves blood flow to the brain, which improves brain function and helps protect you from harmful toxins.
How to get started
Find your local leisure centre for swim times and start making some plans to combine swimming into your day. If you’re after a more relaxing swim maybe try outdoor swimming or look for spa locations, as they often allow you to use their facilities for a set cost, and usually have many deals for new customers.
Start with lessons
If you’ve never taken a swimming lesson before you could look at lessons, they usually can be given either alone or in a group. You will learn fundamental strokes, breathing methods, and other helpful hints for making the most of your activity.
You might even be able to find a local physiotherapist specializing in water-based therapy that can assist you with your recovery and be there for you every step of the way.