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Feb 16, 2012

The Benefits of Swimming

The Benefits of Swimming
(and other aquatic sports)

Swimming has long been considered one of the most “perfect” sports because of its low injury rate and the amazing benefits of swimming, regardless of one’s age or ability. While injuries do occur in the sport, they tend to be associated with the very highest levels of competition or are due to a swimmer not performing the strokes correctly. (All the more reason to get a professional trainer!)

Why is swimming better?

Buoyancy: Because people naturally float in the water, the impact on the joints is reduced dramatically, which means even someone with an injury that would normally prevent him from performing many land exercises may still be able to enjoy water sports without any problems.*

For example, I played soccer until high school and then I tore my ACL (ligament in the knee). I began swimming and in less than four years, I was a CIF champ! So even though I may never be comfortable running again, that didn’t stop me from achieving a very high level of competition in swimming.

Water Temperature: I don’t know a place where you can control the temperature of the air, but you CAN often control the temperature of the water. Therefore, if you are prone to heat stress, working out in colder water can be refreshing and rejuvenating. Whereas, working out in warmer water can stimulate blood circulation, promote healing of injuries, and relax muscles. Can your gym’s air do that?

Water Resistance: Unlike air, water is a constant source of resistance, and though aiding us through buoyancy, it still requires more work to move through than air. But the stress of the movement is shifted away from the weight-bearing joints to the actual muscles. This means any movements done in the water can be both aerobic and anaerobic (think lifting weights and running at the same time but without the stress on your body!) And because water resistance can be controlled by the participant’s level of intensity, workouts can be customized to meet the needs of any age or ability.