Take the Plunge—Try Swimming!
An ever-growing number of participants of high- impact forms of exercise, such as runners, basketball, football, and baseball players, are turning to swimming to avoid the injuries that generally accompany these sports.
Why? Three reasons. First, in the water, your body's weight is completely supported, thus preventing most of the common injuries related to land-based exercise. Second, because the possibility of injury is so greatly reduced, swimming makes it much easier to pursue a more rigorous workout. And finally, because swimming uses (and thus conditions) more of your body's muscles simultaneously than almost any other form of exercise, swimming results in a great overall workout.
The benefits of swimming are not limited just to those wishing to avoid the injuries common to other forms of exercise. Those recovering from exercise-related—and non-exercise-related—injuries can also benefit. Why? Because swimming's non-impact, low-stress nature is often the best (and sometimes the only) exercise method that can strengthen injured joints or limbs without exacerbating the original injury.
And swimming's benefits do not end there. Again, due to its non-impact nature, swimming is often an excellent form of exercise for those who suffer from chronic pain due to arthritis or back-related injuries. And because it is generally done in a warm, humid setting, swimming is often a good choice for people with asthma.
A couple of cautionary notes, however. Before you start an exercise program, talk to your doctor. If you have an injury or a condition, your doctor will need to approve your exercise routine. Your doctor will want to monitor your progress and decide whether any changes need to be made to your activities. While swimming is usually a good option for people, if you have certain conditions, you may need to take extra precautions. For example, for some asthma sufferers, high chlorine levels in the pool can worsen their condition and may even trigger an asthma attack.
Last reviewedMay 2012by Brian Randall, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.