March 17, 2015

Trying Swimming

In high school I was a competitive swimmer. Swim team is full of some of my best memories and experiences. It was also when I was in the best shape of my life. Since then, I really didn't stay in the pool much and consequently, I am in worse shape because of it. I have always wanted to get back into it, but always have made excuses...time, work, it's cold, hard, whatever....

Now with my ACL swimming is going to be a crucial part of my recovery. Or at least that is what I told my doctor at my last appointment. Then she told me she hasn't really ever had anyone use swimming to rehabilitate their ACL. She told me to get her some research and she would look into it.

I have had this post cued up for a while. My own blog and opinion is good research right?!
Wish me luck as I go back again today to hopefully be told she can do my surgery!

To be fair, I should have gotten in the pool a long time ago and not made the reason my ACL for getting me in the pool again.

So the big lesson in all this?
Get in the water and swim because it is good for you, but don't do it just because you have torn your ACL.

5 Reasons Swimming is Good for Your Health

Cardio 
First and foremost, swimming is a form of cardio. Cardio strengthens the heart muscles, and your heart can pump more oxygenated blood through your body with less effort. This is why athletes generally have lower heart rates (around 50-60 bpm) because their heart can pump more blood with each contraction. When I was competitively swimming, my heart rate was in the 60s.

Another neat thing about cardio is that it helps you burn fat. There are two types of "fuel" our muscles can use, fat or carbs. It is easier for them to use carbs because they are less dense and require less oxygen. So when you're doing cardio, you're pumping more blood (more oxygen) to your muscles, so they can break down fat easier. 

Easy on your joints 
Your joints can degenerate when you use them. Fact of life. Running or any other hard impact sport can over time wear down your joints. So if running hurts your knees or kickboxing hurts your hands, try swimming instead. The buoyancy of the water supports your body weight, therefore alleviating the stress on your joints. 

All-over Workout
 When you swim, you use muscles all over your body. Your legs, arms, back, and core are all used to propel you and keep you floating. To really make sure you utilize all of your muscles, practice different strokes. 

Regulates Breathing & Improves Lung Control 
Putting your face underwater is pretty good for your lungs. Because we need to hold our breath, swimming allows us to regulate our breathing pattern and gain lung control. This is helpful if you are a runner that might have a hard time catching her breath. 

Relaxing 
This may be more of a personal opinion, but I think swimming is one of the most relaxing forms of exercise there is. Maybe because I'm good at it? I'm not trying to be cocky (promise) because I know there are people out there that don't swim well, or those that are even afraid of the water. And if you are one of those people, pleeeease please (with sugar on top) just give it a try? I promise you won't regret it! 

One thing I feel like I should mention about swimming is that unfortunately, it is not the best exercise for weight loss. But Lauren, didn't you just get through saying that swimming was one of the best exercises ever? Yes. And it still is. But because swimming only burns about 500 calories per hour, you aren't going to be losing much weight. If your goal is to lose weight, then I would recommend using swimming as an adjunct form of exercise because it can still be beneficial. But a reminder so that you try swimming, let's remember the list of things swimming is good for: 
muscle development -heart strength -lung capacity -endurance -joint therapy -stress relief


Oh and you will probably never ever tear your ACL swimming.
That's a plus right?

3 comments:

  1. I love swimming and totally agree with this! I swam competitively up until high school but then gave it up as life got busy, Mom got sick, etc. You'd better believe, though, that I do it every chance I get :)

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  2. I was in swimming during middle school, and absolutely loved it, I wish neighborhood pools were a common thing here.

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  3. Sooooo true! I was a swimmer in HS too. I don't do it any more because I've found other forms of workouts, but my joints have definitely taken the hit. Although, breast stroke was never good for my knees.

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