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MWi Hacks:

  • How swimming is great exercise for people with injuries and physical handicaps

Getting cardiovascular exercise is very important in maintaining your health, but how can you get a sustained cardio workout if you suffer from chronic pain or have injuries that prevent excessive movement? Swimming is a fantastic way to get your heart rate elevated without putting strain on your body like running or biking do. Suspending yourself in water creates a low-gravity environment in which you can explore movement without impact.

Swimming can be adapted to strengthen almost any part of the body. It can also be used to recondition body parts that had been previously injured. For example, let’s say you’re moderately overweight and managed to pull your hamstring while walking. What you could do to speed up your recovery time is to get in the pool and do some light kicking as you tread water. You could even hold on to the side walls of the pool or use a kick board to keep yourself afloat and just move your legs.

Swimming is not just for people that have injuries; Doing laps in the pool is just as strenuous on your body as going for a run. What makes swimming such a great form of cardiovascular exercise is that it engages all of your limbs in motion while simultaneously requiring you to use your muscles for stabilization. This movement is paired with rhythmic breathing as you come up for air to form an exercise pattern that keeps you at a sustained heart rate.

As fun as swimming is, make sure that you know how to do so confidently before you begin any form of aquatic exercise. If you are unsure in your ability to tread water or just want to improve your stroke for covering greater distance, find a swim instructor to help train you. If you don’t like swimming alone, aquatic sports are a very popular social activity where you find likeminded people to interact with. There are many variations on swimming that range in both difficulty and level of competition. Instead of doing laps, maybe you want to join a water polo club or hop in on a water aerobics class at your local pool. What is great about water sports is that the low-impact nature of the medium you’re exercising in makes the activity more approachable by people of various ages and ability levels. Being able to easily turn your aquatic cardio into a social activity will help you stay motivated to get regular exercise.

MWi would like to thank the following sources that support our community:

Swimming – Health Benefits. Better Health Channel: Department of Heath & Human Services, State Government of Victoria, Australia. Retrieved from https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/swimming-health- benefits

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