Just Keep Swimming -- But Not Before You Stretch!
By Brandi Swieter
Swimming provides excellent health benefits. Building endurance, improving cardiovascular health, building muscle, and improving strength are just a few advantages swimming brings. However, too many people jump right in the pool without first stretching out their limbs. The arms and legs need particular focus because they are the areas that get worked the most during a water workout. Everyone should keep swimming to gain the benefits, but not before stretching out their bodies first.
The Importance of Stretching
Those who want to avoid injury, improve flexibility, and help their bodies prepare for the activity at hand need to stretch first. Swimming is a workout just like any other fitness activity, and stretching is key in making sure the aerobic exercise gets performed as intended. The body cannot handle physical activity as well before it has been properly stretched and prepared. Muscle tension can stop the body from performing well and any stiffness can be a cause for quick injury. Stretch carefully before going swimming to prevent this from happening.
Stretches to Try
The arm and shoulder stretch helps to prevent injury to the shoulder. This is one of the most commonly injured locations on the body during swimming due to the repetitive motion of the arms and shoulders used to swim. Simply place one arm across the chest and use the opposite arm to give it a gentle tug. Repeat on the other side.
A squatting stretch inside the pool allows swimmers to use the wall for balance. This version targets the glutes and thighs, which are needed to kick through the water. Place one foot against the wall, or on the ledge if possible. The opposite leg will be kept straight, with the foot planted on the pool’s floor. Lean into the bent leg to feel the stretch throughout the lower half of the body. Repeat with the other side.
Stretching After Swimming
Stretching should not only be done before swimming occurs, it’s also important for swimmers to stretch their bodies afterward to allow their muscles to recover. The body gets worked out well during a swim session, and it can feel fatigued and sore following the activity. Stretching the body out and performing a cooldown lap will help ensure there is time to recover and settle before the next workout.
Experiencing a swimming injury is never fun, as many result in symptoms of significant pain. Any swimmer who forgot to stretch before going in the water should visit The Joint Chiropractic. A doctor can help to remove joint restrictions and ease up the tension and discomfort being felt.
To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Roseville, Calif.