xercHealth Benefits of Swimming for Injury-Ridden Individuals
For many, mild to severe joint pain may lead to a complete halt in physical activity. Popular high-impact exercises like running, plyometrics, and aerobics are impossible for those with arthritis or injury-related joint pain. The harsh movements required by many common exercises are simply too much for delicate joints to handle. In many cases, continuing on with these standard exercise activities despite your condition may end in increased damage and long-term consequences.
Professional swimming coach and fitness enthusiast Mike Kotch is a strong advocate for the beneficial health attributes of swimming. He firmly believes that swimming should be the desired alternative for cardio for those struggling with joint pain, he took the time to discuss his reasoning in order to provide insider knowledge for the general public.
Swimming is Low-Impact
For those with joint pain, swimming is the perfect physical activity. Mike Kotch explains that it keeps the body strong and healthy while maintaining (and even lessening) joint pain. Unlike exercises which require the feet to leave the ground in motions which strain the joints, swimming is an extremely low-impact activity; it minimizes the force placed on the knees, ankles, and hips. Swimming involves no jarring movements and never requires the individual to place extreme amounts of weight or pressure on the joints.
The low-impact element of swimming is contributed largely to water’s buoyant properties. While swimming, joints sustain less strain and tension because the water acts to lessen gravity’s harsh pull, allowing it to move freely without injury or pain. Because it incorporates water, swimming is considered by many to be one of the most low-impact physical activities.
Swimming is a Pain-Free Exercise Alternative
One of the biggest challenges of chronic or long-term joint pain is the vicious cycle it creates: the pain makes exercising difficult, which causes the affected person to exercise less. According to Mike Kotch, this cycle leads to a loss of muscle and strength. Strong muscles serve to protect joints and lessen further damage. However, weakening due to lack of exercise leads to an increase in damage and pain, making the patient even less likely to exercise. Swimming is one of the best ways to break this vicious cycle and lessen pain.
Swimming Builds Muscle for Joint Protection
By giving those suffering from joint pain the opportunity to move their bodies and exercise in a comfortable way, swimming helps to stop the deterioration of joint health. Swimming requires a full-range of motion, while activities like weightlifting only employ one muscle or one group of muscles, swimming engages multiple groups of muscles. This makes it a highly effective full-body workout. The strength gained from swimming exercise allows for an increase of muscle, which serves to protect and strengthen joints. The increase in muscle serves to lessen pain and help prevent further injury and deterioration.
Swimming Activates Water’s Therapeutic Properties
Studies show that those suffering from joint pain may benefit from being in the water regardless of whether any true exercising activity is taking place or not. Because of water’s buoyant properties, it is shown to be especially therapeutic for joint pain. Mike Kotch explains that the therapeutic properties occur because it promotes a full-range of motion, water-related activities are some of the most common physical therapy methods for those with arthritis or joint injuries. Those who swim can benefit from water’s therapeutic properties while strengthening the body as a whole.
Mike Kotch’s Final Thoughts
Swimming is the perfect activity for health driven individuals that cannot exercise in a more traditional sense. As Mike Kotch has explained, swimming provides individuals the opportunity to exercise in a low-impact setting to alleviate stressors on the joints, and pain.