Swimming can keep your joints flexible, reduce stiffness and increase mobility. It’s one of the best ways of exercising to help keep your joints healthy.
Swimming is good for joint health as it:
- Stimulates blood circulation and can reduce muscle stiffness and ease pain
- Helps to maintain and build strength and cardiovascular fitness
- Can help make your joints more flexible
- It’s a low impact exercise
A few swimming exercises that are great for joint pain include:
Walking around the pool – those who struggle to walk regularly because of joint stiffness would benefit from simply walking in a pool. The water reduces the effect of gravity and therefore reduces the impact on your joints.
Arm circles – while keeping your head above the water, lower the rest of your body into the water. Keep both elbows straight and make circles with your arms and then gradually increase the size of the circles. Do not raise your arms out of the water or let them cross.
Doggy-paddle – this helps to strengthen your arms and legs. To do it you just kick to move forward and simultaneously paddle your hands and arms under the water.
The crawl – similar to doggy-paddle, the crawl keeps you afloat by paddling only your hands under the water to make a forward movement.
General health benefits of swimming
No matter your fitness level there are many health benefits to adding a swim to your exercise regime. As well as joint health, just 30 minutes of swimming, three times a week alongside a balanced diet is one of the best ways to stay fit and healthy.
Full body workout – swimming uses all the muscles in your body, so whether you do a gentle breastroke or butterfly, you’ll get a full body workout. Exercising in the water also makes your body work harder – 30 minutes in the pool is equivalent to 45 minutes of the same activity on land. Swimming is also the most effective way to burn calories, with a gentle swim burning over 200 calories in just half an hour. That’s more than double that of walking.
Destress and relax – whether it’s work that’s stressing you out or just life in general, swimming can regularly lower stress levels, reduce anxiety and depression and even improve sleep patterns. You only need to go for a light swim to feel the benefits to your mental health.
Supports the body – if you’re recovering from injury or suffer with arthritis, swimming is a great form of exercise as water supports up to 90% of the body’s weight.
Increases energy levels – inactivity is often responsible for a lack of energy. Just 30 minutes of swimming, three times a week can boost energy levels through increased metabolic rate.
Lowers risk of disease – as well as being a great form of cardiovascular exercise, swimming just 30 minutes a week can help to guard against heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes.
Exercise without sweat – if sweating puts you off other forms of exercise, no matter how hard you work, you’ll never feel sweaty during or after swimming. This is because the water around you is constantly cooling you down.
Swimming is great for all age groups, skill and fitness levels. if you’re just starting out, don’t overdo it and consult your GP if you’ve not exercised for a while.