Injured? Help your rehab by simply swimming
Sadly, injuries are a part of life. Whether you are a performance athlete or a busy mum who regularly hauls 50 kg of groceries, a 30kg dog and several bikes that are supposedly "light-weight", injuries are a literal and figurative pain in the (insert body-part here).
Injuries are never good news but they can deliver a wake up and shake up. For elite athletes, it forces a different kind of training and by mixing things up, can lead to improvements as neglected areas get some attention. For mere mortals, it's a reminder that our posture, habits and health need as much focus as our daily "to-do" list.
A period of rest is usually the best thing to aid recovery but targeted pool-based rehab, with the aid of a few clever devices, can help support your body's injured areas and aid the healing process.
So why is water a good environment for rehabilitation? Mother Nature made the perfect rehab space with built-in buoyancy and resistance. Water provides 44 times more resistance than air! This means you get the benefit of less weight and pressure on your body, especially injured areas, while also being able to use the water’s resistance to work out your functioning body.
Focus on what you can do, not what you can’t do. If you aren't a swimmer, start slow and easy. Just floating can be a huge relief as pressure is reduced on your joints and muscles. If you are a regular in the water, try different swim strokes to work different parts of the body. Backstroke can be more co
mfortable for those who have a back issues and neck problems as it allows you to float on your back without stressing it and eliminates the need to turn the head for breathing.
FINIS has developed several swimmers snorkels which are a brilliant bit of kit that eliminates the need to turn the head for breathing so those with back and neck injuries can find it easier to swim and to swim for longer.
The buoyancy of water supports body weight and takes down pressure on the joints. That’s good for both injured joints and healthy ones too.
By eliminating gravity in the water, you only bear up to 10% of your body weight. Even if you can’t train for long or you do a fraction of what you would normally do, just being in the water is a bonus for your body.
Swimming is also shown to bring stress levels down. A recent survey showed 74% of swimmers feel that it releases stress and tension, 68% say it helps them to feel good about themselves and 70% feel mentally refreshed after swimming.
Don’t be afraid to use accessories like a kickboard or buoy to decrease strain on injuries to allow you to get into the pool. It can be hard to stay motivated when things feel a bit broken but getting in the water, even just to float or kick for half an hour, can help make your road to recovery easier and quicker.