Swimming for Health

We’re in the warmer months of the year, and many people have been jumping into the water. But for those of you still on the fence, here’s some great reasons why your Osteopath may have recommended swimming to help get your health back on track this Summer:

1. It’s brilliant for your cardiovascular fitness

Swimming is a great form of fitness for your heart and lungs. It’s one of the few types of exercises which will elevate your heart rate without putting significant impact stress on your joints. Regular swimming has also been shown in most cases to help reduce high blood pressure, improve arterial blood flow and assist in developing a strong vascular system.

There have been numerous studies to show that swimming is one of few sports to improve respiratory function, particularly in cases with young asthmatics. For those of you with respiratory distress, please keep in mind that swimming in outdoor pools or a well-ventilated indoor pool is recommended as some chlorine products in high concentration can have irritant effects on airways, particularly if the time spent swimming is of high duration.

Improved respiration and blood flow all help to relieve pain, stress and heal injuries, which makes it great alongside Osteopathic treatment!

2. Swimming is a great way to get back into exercise after injury

Because water provides a weight assisted environment, it’s great for early mobilisation after an injury. Warm water helps to relieve muscle tightness, decrease inflammation, joint stiffness and pain. Hydrotherapy pools in particular are ideal for this purpose as they’re kept at a constant temperature of 34 degrees, with wide easy steps or a hoist to assist you in and out of the water comfortably.

Research studies have demonstrated aquatic exercise to be greatly beneficial for several very common pain conditions and injuries, even chronic problems such as osteoarthritis since it’s an all-body workout with only minimal joint impact. There’s nothing quite like the buoyancy of water to help develop muscle strength, improve your coordination and balance, and help you reach functional goals with your day to day lifestyle.

For more information on what type of exercise you should be doing in the water have a chat with your Osteopath and we can help provide you with an individual aquatic based exercise program.

3. Improve mental health

Swimming has been shown to have great effects for those with mental health concerns or high levels of stress and anxiety. Swimming is a workout that requires the use of all major muscle groups, and this hard work triggers the release of serotonin, otherwise known as a feel-good hormone. A real mood booster!

Reducing stress levels helps to recover from pain faster and has great effects particularly for those suffering with chronic pain, as chronic stress increases inflammation levels.

Swimming also requires focus, to be present in the moment, to move through the water, to deepen your breathing. This helps create a calm, relaxed and mindful state of mind. Even sleep quality can be improved with regular exercise, by working off excess energy, and decreasing pain and stiffness.

Swimming is a great way to become more confident in your body and really appreciate what it’s capable of, plus helping you to look and feel better at the same time.

Important things to remember:

  • Please be sure to always swim somewhere safe and look after yourself in the water, don’t get in unless you know how to swim.
  • Make sure you warm up and stretch beforehand and stay hydrated while you exercise will also help enhance the benefits of swimming this Summer.
  • If you haven’t exercised in a long time or are unsure if getting in the water is the right choice for you, then make sure to check with your Osteopath or GP before getting started in the water.

If you have any further questions and/or concerns about swimming for health, then please don’t hesitate to come and see us.

 

 

References
Alkatan, M., Baker, J., Machin, D., Park, W., Akkari, A., Pasha, E., & Tanaka, H. (2016). Improved Function and Reduced Pain after Swimming and Cycling Training in Patients with Osteoarthritis. The Journal Of Rheumatology43(3), 666-672. doi: 10.3899/jrheum.151110
Department of Health | Australia’s Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines and the Australian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines. (2019). Retrieved 4 December 2019
Hydrotherapy at Epworth HealthCare. (2019). Retrieved 4 December 2019
Lap up the mental health benefits of swimming. (2019). Retrieved 4 December 2019
Nualnim, N., Parkhurst, K., Dhindsa, M., Tarumi, T., Vavrek, J., & Tanaka, H. (2012). Effects of Swimming Training on Blood Pressure and Vascular Function in Adults >50 Years of Age. The American Journal Of Cardiology109(7), 1005-1010. doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2011.11.029
Swimming – health benefits. (2019). Retrieved 4 December 2019
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