The above photo is one of me after I broke my leg in 2009. Please excuse the goofy smile… this is actually the only photo I could find of me during that time! I was on crutches and in a wheel chair for six weeks due to that injury, and as soon as the doctor said my leg had healed, I made the mistake of hitting the gym hard right away in an effort to make up for lost time. The problem with this is that I really should have eased back into working out slowly, as even now I still feel pain where I cracked my leg way back when. This could have been prevented if I were a little more patient. I wish I would’ve known then what I know now.
If you’ve sustained a minor injury (or are now recovering from a more serious one) that’s holding you back from going on your daily walks, heading to the gym for your usual workouts or just living life to the fullest, don’t feel discouraged! There is a form of exercise that will not only keep that body of yours active, but will also speed up the healing process.
The type of exercise I’m talking about here is swimming. Here’s why:
- It’s low-impact. I love low-impact exercise because it’s easy on the joints, which is especially great when you’re injured. You may need to experiment with different stroke styles (such as freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, etc.) to find the ones that are most comfortable for you. Just be sure to start out at an easy pace and listen to your body. If all you can comfortably do is walk around the shallow end or lightly tread water, this will do just fine! Pushing through the resistance of the water does more good for your body than you may realize.
- It’s a full body workout. Think about it – in most cases while you’re swimming, you’re using your arms, back, abs and legs, all while feeling practically weightless!
- It provides the whole package. Swimming includes strength training, cardiovascular, coordination and flexibility work all rolled into one! All without putting any additional stress on your body.
- It’s movement, and movement accelerates recovery. Often, we tend to feel extremely frustrated and discouraged after becoming injured… which can lead to depression… which then leads to giving up on your physical health all together… which can lead to muscle loss and stiff joints. It doesn’t need to be this way! Swimming not only keeps you active in a virtually pain-free way, but keeping that body in motion actually speeds up the recovery process.
Don’t have a pool in your backyard? Check online to see if there is a public pool nearby that you can utilize, and then give them a call to find out what time of day the pool is the least crowded. Many gyms have pools, as well. If your personal funds are tight, talk to the gym manager about catching a break on the membership fee since you’re only planning on using the pool.
There is nothing more important than your health. So if you’re dealing with an injury, be good to your body and give swimming a shot!