Swimming: A Recipe for Long-Term Joint Health

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Who knew an answer to relieving joint pain could be as close as your community pool?

When dealing with joint pain and its debilitating effects, it is easy to become discouraged and hit a mental wall, thinking the pain has the better of you and nothing can be done but give in and give up. Not anymore.
As your orthopedist and physical therapist will tell you, the best thing to combat joint pain is movement. Sounds logical enough, but what if the pain is so great that even a slow walk through the neighborhood feels like climbing Mt. Everest? This is not the time to give in. This is the time for action.

Cue the Chlorine

When faced with the reality that land-based exercise, with your joints already stressed from pain, is simply not a possibility, it’s time to develop your personal Plan B to manage the pain and get your active life back. Doing so takes courage and determination, but is very achievable. It’s best to seek the advice of professional health care providers, particularly orthopedists and physical therapists, to ascertain the best way to manage your particular joint issue. What you many find, however, is a universal recommendation to try something that is not only easy on the joints but helps manage the emotional stress present while trying to overcome injury. A recipe for long-term joint health, perhaps? Did we mention you have probably been doing this very thing since you were a kid? And you will probably love it as much now as you did then? We are of course referring to swimming.

Everyone Is A Swimmer

When someone suggests swimming as a means to manage a present joint issue, sometimes it is tempting to shrug off the suggestion and think you are not fit enough to give it a shot. Reality couldn’t be farther than that thought. Look around most community pools and you will see the full spectrum of skill levels in the same pool – those recovering from injury by simply standing or slowly walking in a small circle, those with moderate swimming stroke ability as well as triathletes doing laps. It soon becomes clear that there must be a reason why pools offer such a great means of recovery from which everyone can benefit.

The Benefits of Buoyancy

From the water walker to the triathlete, every H2O enthusiast is keenly aware of what helps recovery and strengthening of an injured joint or muscle group. The density of water creates buoyancy and an unparalleled environment for removing stress off of otherwise painful joints, encouraging movement without the presence of pain. The restorative characteristics of water go beyond therapy for a physical ailment. Moving through water requires mental engagement to negotiate the resistance water naturally creates. Generally speaking, most folks get in the pool and have a destination in mind – usually the other end of the pool. When your mind is occupied with this positive goal, it’s too busy to think about much of anything else. Before you know it, after a few minutes in the pool, you might find yourself mentally relieved of your injury and any other related stressors previously on your mind. A recipe for long-term healing indeed.

Dive In! Exploring the Endless Health Benefits of Swimming Pools

Keep It Going

After a few sessions in the pool, the positive results of swimming can be measurable. Is it a bit easier to get in and out of the car, bend down to tie your shoes or push a grocery cart? If it is, you know your journey to joint wellness has begun. Keep your swimming routine going, and you’ll reap the benefits from working hard to keep your joints healthy for many years to come. Who knows, over time you may even get to do a cannonball in the deep end.

Have a question about an orthopedic issue you are trying to manage on your own? Make an appointment to consult with Dr. Kevin Terefenko for knee and hip issues, and Dr. James Shaffer for shoulder and elbow concerns.

To your wellness,

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Arthritis & Joint Replacement Center of Reading

2758 Century Boulevard, Suite 2
Reading, PA 19610
Phone: 610.376.JOINT • Fax: 610.376.8546

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