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Just Keep Swimming…Swimming, Swimming

Ouch. If you’re a fitness junkie or a serious athlete, you’ve probably sustained some kind of workout injury. It could be any number of physical afflictions: shin splints, knee injuries, ankle sprains, concussions, a torn ACL…the list goes on and on. These injuries don’t just result from one sport or activity, either. They can happen doing almost anything from lacrosse to volleyball to dancing. It’s hard to reconcile the advantages and disadvantages of different kinds of exercising. After all, if working out is supposed to help your body, then why can it also hurt so much?! There is a good alternative if you find yourself exceptionally prone to fitness-related injuries: swimming. Swimming is one of the best types of exercise that you can do for your body in terms of cost/benefit. Because you’re buoyant, it’s less weight-bearing, meaning you’re not putting your full body weight into the exercise. Less weight means less impact, and less impact means less joint and/or muscle pain over time. It’s so low-impact that swimming has been prescribed as physical therapy for other sport-related injuries. You can also burn more calories swimming because water has great resistance, forcing you to work harder to move. Swimming also helps with cardiovascular fitness. By practicing sustained breath-holding, it gradually increases your lung capacity, which has long-term health benefits. You’ve probably heard people say that all athletes have a shelf-life. To an extent, this is true. As we get older, our bodies are no longer as agile or capable of prolonged periods of high-intensity fitness (except in the case of Harriette Thompson). However, swimming is an activity that you can do throughout your entire life. While it’s true that swimmers can still sustain sport-related injuries, the benefits received from swimming far outweigh the possible risks. As Dory would say: Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming…swimming…
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