The Water’s Fine

person swimming in a pool

Staying active through injury can be difficult and frustrating. High impact activities you love like running, hiking, or tennis, may not be an option while recovering from surgery. While you might not be ready for high-impact or contact sports yet, that doesn’t mean staying active is off the table. Swimming is a great option if you are recovering from impact-sensitive joint pain or recovering from injury. Water exercises like swimming can be excellent for maintaining conditioning.

MOTION physical therapist Eric Matuszewski, PT, DPT, CSCS, loves swimming in lakes, pools, and the oceans throughout the warmer months. See below for tips from Eric as he shares the benefits of swimming.

Benefits of Swimming:

  1. Swimming at appropriate intensity can help you to maintain upper body strength, particularly in pulling strength as well as helping you to maintain cardiorespiratory function while giving you a break from the summer heat.
  2. Swimming is a high-energy activity great for maintaining your activity level and has been shown to increase heart function when done consistently all the while being low impact.
  3. Swimming increases circulation throughout the body and brain relative to resting and may relieve some joint pain.
  4. Swimming may decrease feelings of tension and depression.
  5. Stroke swimming is not the only way to exercise in water. Water walking/jogging/jumping and kicking patterns are also great options and appropriate for many. Athletes sometimes add weights and water resistance implements to workouts in shallow water to increase the intensity of a water workout and shift resistance to the upper body and core.

Before starting a new swimming program, discuss with your physical therapist whether swimming is the right activity for you and any modifications that might be best for you. Be sure to swim only in the presence of a lifeguard. Your PT can also help take your recovery plan and exercises from land to water by adapting them for the pool.