Swimming as rehabilitation therapy

Inspired in two of our coaches’ stories we are here to tell you about swimming as rehabilitation.
Anna started swimming when she was 20 to recover from a surgery. Hiring a coach was a key to her success despite a later start.
Agustin has done a lot of sports, but after breaking the leg he had to choose swimming as his main sport again, because of its low impact.
And we think that there are a lot of you who wants to recover after some injury or start doing sport after some accident.

  • There are a few main reasons why swimming is a good rehabilitation tool:
    It is low impact. (Unless you are training to be an elite swimmer at which point you will be putting your body through a more intense, higher impact workout.)
  • It is a form of active stretching – swimming technically will ensure full range of motion movements for many different body parts.
  • It provides just enough resistance from water to provide, over time, sustained aerobic conditioning to the rehabilitating subject, allowing them to continue to workout while rehabbing at the same time.

When you exercise in water, 90 percent of your body is buoyant, which takes the stress off your joints. Water also provides up to 14 times more resistance on land as you exercise and helps disperse body heat to avoid overheating. Many doctors and physical therapists recommend swimming to their patients for medical problems and following surgery. It’s particularly helpful if you use a wheelchair, crutches or braces on land, since they often aren’t required while you’re in the pool.

The buoyancy of water supports joints while encouraging a full, free range of movement. Heated pools (OUR POOL IS 29 DEGREES) are especially helpful for arthritis and fibromyalgia patients, because the warmth helps relax muscles and diminish pain and stiffness. Warm water also causes blood vessels to dilate and increase circulation. People with rheumatoid arthritis have greater improvement in joint tenderness and in knee range of movement with hydrotherapy than with other forms of exercise. Health benefits for aching joints are long-lasting, according to a study published in 2002 in the “Scandinavian Journal of Rheumatology,” which found fibromyalgia patients still had improvements in symptoms and physical and social function up to 24 months after a hydrotherapy program.

Researchers in Finland who conducted a review of studies on the effects of therapeutic swimming exercise found that it can be an effective therapy for back pain. Their results, published in “Clinical Rehabilitation” in January 2009, showed that swimming was potentially beneficial to patients suffering from general chronic low back pain and pregnancy-related low back pain. A separate study in Brazil, published in 2005 in the journal “Revista Brasileira de Medicina do Esporte,” found that swimming can help in rehabilitation of patients with spinal cord injuries by improving their ability to bathe and dress themselves and restoring some muscle strength and motor skills.

The same we can find with other types of injuries, like knee our shoulder injuries. In severe cases, swimming may initially not be a possibility, but getting in a pool and doing low impact exercises in an aquatic environment are a good starting point in rehabilitation. Start with getting in the water to chest level and walking the pool, eventually add some arm movement and gradually progress to full on swimming.
Similar to rehabilitation swimming also can be used for the recovery between other sports.

Write us if you interested to swim with us like part of rehabilitation, our coaches will send you recommendations depending on the type of your injury.

3 thoughts on “Swimming as rehabilitation therapy

  • January 10, 2019 at 12:39 pm

    I am 29 years old and have chronic low back pain for years. But doctors have cited a weakness in muscle and offered a water therapy. How can I join a water therapy group in Stockholm?plz guide me

    • January 10, 2019 at 8:00 pm

      Dear Bahar, I will talk to our main coach and will let you know.


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