Every sport has its perks and downsides. Every sport except for swimming that is, as long as you do it the right way. We are creatures that evolved from water, but somewhere along the way we distanced ourselves from it almost completely. We have gotten in tune with dry land so much, that many of us often spend years on end without so much as wiggling our toes inside a pond, let alone taking on a full-on, floating/swimming experience, without touching the bottom of a pool or a lake we visit ever so rarely.
Benefits of Water Sports
While it is true that most types of exercise will strengthen your spine, at least to a certain degree, many sports involve spinal trauma. This may result in one having achieved strong back muscles (which, as a part of our core musculature are crucial in preventing back injuries), but doesn’t mean that the impact caused by running won’t cause spine injury on the road towards strengthening their posture. Gravity is causing enough pressure, as it is. Water sports, however, make for an exception to all this. If you’ve learned to float on your own, you can already start relaxing your spine. But what kind of exercise is that, just keeping oneself above the water surface? Not an easy one, really. Having to constantly move your arms and legs would be a silent muscle toner, calorie burner and a relaxing experience at that, even if there was no such thing as water resistance. However, given that physics isn’t something we dictate, experiencing more difficulty while making extremity movement in water, than on dry land proves for a borderline weightlifting experience. And this is only floating that we’re talking about. Should you decide to move about a bit quicker, as you naturally would, you’re in for quite a workout. Furthermore, water sports dictate when and how you’ll breathe, a thing that does miracles for heart disease-related issues.
Do it the Right Way
As is the case with most things in life, swimming can be a double-edged knife, if done improperly. Quick and sudden movement has been known to cause back injury and therefore in no way should it be done this way. Swimming is an elegant sport, a crucial part of which is allowing yourself to cut and flow through the water, or glide on the surface. The key is not in quick and short movement, but in long, elegant strokes. Take the common crawl technique for example: not only will quick, short and therefore uncoordinated arm strokes cause you to be slower and drift of course, but, as mentioned, sudden moves and twists can lead to cricks, cramps, pulled muscles and the dreaded back injury. Long, strong and firm strokes, on the other side, will keep you focused on your destination, give you time for breathing control, stretch and strengthen your back muscles, and allow you to really feel your complete musculature activating, while you’re cutting through the surface. This is why it’s of huge importance to work with a coach, especially if you’re a beginner swimmer. Having someone to show you the correct technique is a benefit that should not be taken for granted. Start lightly at first, perhaps not more than twice a week and take it from there. Work on your progress gradually, and not only will you experience that healthy kind of exhaustion and satisfaction, but you’ll begin to see as your musculature is toning up, while the back pain is slowly becoming a thing of the past.
Even if you do have a lot of spare time (and not many of us do, in this busy world), you might end up skipping swimming sessions, as it does take up a lot of time. In addition to the obvious fact of having to get to the swimming pool, things like cold weather, having to dry your hair and the lack of hygiene in public pools are all factors that may cause you to procrastinate. If so, think about getting a pool of your own. Palm Pools and Spas have a variety of different types for you in store, so feel free to check out their website, and the likes. By equipping your home with one, you’ll ebb away every reason not to practice, daily even, be it for alleviating back pain or just for the sake of exercise.
Back Pain Rehabilitation
I have already mentioned that swimming is beneficial for the spine, but let’s explore it a bit further. The first and foremost reason for this is the sheer fact that it is not weight bearing. What this means is that, due to the previously mentioned physical resistance, water supports you. Most exercises that require standing cause some back pressure, at the very least, and engaging those that will truly strengthen your spine, does come with an amount of injury risk. Given the fact that swimming forces you to use every single muscle in your body, it is obvious that it does so with the back musculature too. Even though other techniques will work benefits for strengthening your back, swimming backstroke might be the best possible one for back injury. Laying in the water on your back, in the supine position, you allow the water to support your back and therefore, further alleviate pressure. What swimming also grants you is the ability to pull yourself through water, thus stretching your entire body length, with little effort. When suffering from back injury, it is recommended that you do pull-ups, so that you can stretch out your back, while simultaneously working on your posture. What swimming does is that it allows you to do the exact same thing, only with significantly less effort, while activating those and all other muscles throughout the body. The fact that the pressure is completely out of the picture makes swimming the best possible way to strengthen one’s supporting muscles, even while going through injury rehabilitation.
The only types that engage every muscle in one’s body, water sports’ benefits are numerous. But if you’ve ever experienced chronic back pain, you know that nothing else matters when you’re going through a bad episode of it. Relaxing yourself (and your spirit), while engaging your muscles and staying in tune with your body has never been easier.