We are looking forward to a beautiful swimming season with all this warm weather! There are many benefits to swimming such as
- Lung training: exhaling into the water is especially beneficial for asthmatics, helping with more efficient breathing patterns
- Weightlessness, low impact on weight bearing joints
- Relaxing nature of being in the water, an opportunity to unwind, a moving meditation
- Core strengthening (if done correctly!) and general muscle strengthening from the resistance of the water
Recently I have seen quite a few clients with neck, upper back and shoulder discomfort from doing laps in the pool or ocean.
Swimming freestyle requires full range of motion in your neck to turn to breathe. Any restriction in your thoracic spine (upper back) also affects the quality of your swimming stroke. Tightness in the shoulders puts more strain on the spine as you power through the water.
Next time you go for a swim, try these exercises as a warm up. Not only will you feel better, your stroke and speed should improve also!
1) Shoulder stretch at wall: Place hand on the wall and gently stretch the body away. Now place your hand on a doorway frame and lean forward, pull the shoulder back and down.
2) Thoracic spine mobility
- Start with elbows bent, and fingers clasped behind your head
- Raise the top elbow up and slightly behind
- Let your head gently turn as you do this stretch
3) For mid back strength:
- Lying face downwards with your arms by your side and palms facing upwards
- Now draw the shoulder blades together and down
- Continue to breathe as you hold in this position for 10 – 15 seconds.
- Relax and repeat 6 – 8 times
If you would like more ideas on how to improve your swimming, book in to see one of our physiotherapists on 9399 7399. We can tailor an exercise program to your specific needs.
-Blog by Alla Melman