Why is swimming considered the best exercise? What should we watch out for? How much does it help people who have musculoskeletal problems?
The most frequently asked questions by physiotherapists, while summer is on its way, are: Is swimming beneficial? After how many baths? Which month? In combination with which exercises in the water? Swimming has been attributed many beneficial properties and seems to benefit health in many ways, while it is an activity that can be done all year round in suitable, well-kept pools. The alternative of sea winter swimming seems to be for the most daring, but it is praised for the results on their health !!!
But what does swimming mean? If we have to define it, we would say that swimming is the immersion of the body in water and its movement without lifting the weight of the body with the feet, pressing on a surface. However, physical exercise can be done in the water with the legs lifting part of the body weight, while many of the benefits of swimming remain.
In sea baths, after a sufficient number of baths (about twenty) one either swims, walks in the shallows, or performs certain exercises in the water, the muscular system benefits, as the joints relax and the arthritic pain is reduced, while at the same time his posture body improves.
Due to the increased blood flow, the pain in both the muscles and their tendons is reduced, which become more elastic and resistant to effort, they can and do better in their work, in strength, repetition and duration. Intense regular swimming or exercise in the water exercises the cardiorespiratory system and improves our aerobic capacity, which improvement comes with our every step and out of the water.
Based on these unique features is hydrotherapy, which as a branch of Physiotherapy, uses the benefits of movement in the water to accelerate the recovery of many diseases, even neurological. Water gymnastics, as a branch of Physical Education, is gaining more and more believers, as it offers the results of the training pleasantly and quickly.
If all of the above obviously help us to have a better quality of life, swimming is the best thing for us in the end. The relaxation and elimination of tension that one can enjoy by contact with water, swimming or simply “calming down” in the water, are very important and immediate psychological benefits. On the other hand, the coolness and socializing with family and friends that a swim in the sea or in the pool can offer, add up to these benefits.
As in any activity and of course sports activity, in swimming there are dangers that we must avoid and precautions that we must take. Excessive sun exposure is a common problem in sea baths, with all that entails, most commonly sunburn, fainting, and skin burns, which can repeatedly lead to skin malignancy. Those who take medication, especially diabetics and especially insulin dependents, need good preparation and proper planning. Illness, or other inhibitory factor of our health that appears in an emergency, warns us that we should not swim and it is good to be respected. Finally, we do not forget that we never swim after having eat, i.e. before at least 3 hours have passed from a main meal.
Children need special, constant monitoring and attention, because it is easy to get sick (“cold”) during the bath and because drowning is silent. The same goes for those who do not know how to swim and are trying to learn, for people with special needs -mental or motor- and for people with extremely impaired health, as well as epileptics, as a seizure in the water easily leads to drowning. In the case of a swimming pool, it must be modern, without breaks in its lining, clean, with clean water, with an up-to-date certificate of the water purification system and, if possible, with a lifeguard.
Such a pleasure as swimming, such a great need, we can say, with the unique advantages in terms of the benefit of exercise and psychology that we mentioned is not exhausted in as many words as we try to describe it. Happy summer, good baths.
Advises Mr. Christos Komisopoulos, Physiotherapist, Scientific Associate of the Butterfly Bone Health Society