Swimming for Exercise: Good for Joint and Heart Health

older couple swimming in pool

Swimming for exercise is one of the most effective aerobic activities. Not only does swimming improve overall fitness and muscle strength, but it also provides cardiac and joint benefits. Just 30 minutes of swimming daily offers a full-body workout.

Exercising in water can offer just as many benefits as exercising on land. This is because water forces the body to work harder while putting less pressure on the musculoskeletal system. Swimming is a great option for all ages and abilities. With guidance from a primary care provider or physical therapist, it’s easy to find a swim routine that’s right for you.

The physical therapists at River’s Edge Hospital & Clinic are part of a rehabilitation team that encourages activity like swimming for cardiac and joint health.

Swimming for Heart Health

Swimming for exercise provides numerous heart-healthy benefits.

  • Lowers the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Swimming helps with weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight. A healthy weight reduces the overall risk of developing heart disease or diabetes.
  • Reduces blood pressure. Water activities like swimming raise the levels of good HDL cholesterol, which can lower blood pressure over time.
  • Sleep better. Less than the recommended seven hours of sleep each night can raise blood pressure and makes it harder to lose weight. Swimming can improve sleep patterns so you get more shut eye.
  • Stress less. Over time, chronic stress can contribute to increased cardiovascular complications. Swimming for exercise is great way to destress and helps relieve anxiety and depression.
  • Stronger heart. Aerobic exercise like swimming makes the heart muscles stronger. Stronger heart muscles improve the heart’s ability to pump blood throughout the body.

Swimming for Joint Health

There are many ways swimming for exercise improves joint health.

  • Better balance. By building muscle strength, especially around the spine, swimming can improve balance.
  • Builds stronger muscles. While swimming, many muscles in the body are engaged. Stronger muscles help keep joints and ligaments flexible and prevent stiffness.
  • Helps with arthritis symptoms. Swimming keeps joints loose, flexible and builds range of motion. This helps mobility and reduces pain.
  • Improves range of motion. By strengthening muscles and improving joint and ligament flexibility, swimming helps maintain a greater range of motion.
  • Low impact on joints and ligaments. Water will support 90% of your body weight. This allows you to get proper exercise with less compression or stress on the joints.
  • Pain reduction. By supporting your body weight, water offers relief from pain and stiffness in the joints. Over time, increased range of motion, stronger muscles, better balance and more flexible joints will support pain reduction too.

Start Swimming for Exercise Today

Get recommendations from physical therapists or primary care providers to find a swimming pool or class near you. Health clubs, public organizations like the YMCA or YWCA, and rehabilitation centers are great options for swimming activities.

Ready to learn other ways to improve your heart health? River’s Edge Hospital & Clinic has a comprehensive cardiac rehabilitation program.

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