Benefits of water exercise for a healthy spine

Summer is here, and it is time to enjoy water activities. While you are having fun, why not take the opportunity to do a little bit of exercise? Whether it is in a swimming pool, in a lake or in the sea, there are many exercises you can do in the water which will benefit your health greatly, especially your spinal health.

Here are some of the advantages of going for a swim:

1. In water, your joints are less impacted.
Water gives you a hydrostatic lift, meaning you are floating. Because of the weight being lifted from your joints, exercising in water can be a good way to avoid injuries.

2. You don’t suffer so much from the heat.
Training can cause heat strokes especially in the middle of the summer. By doing exercise in water, you evacuate heat faster and you are less likely to overheat. If the water is warm, you are not really cooling down, but your circulation will be activated, which is what you want when you exercise.

3. Water offers you some degree of resistance.
Since you are moving against water instead of against air, you work harder. That resistance is ideal to develop an overall strength and build up your endurance.

4. You can adjust the resistance.
Depending on your speed and your position in the water, you can adjust the resistance of your workout. For example, if your movements are hydrodynamic, the faster you will go the less resistance you will face. On the other hand, if you run in the water, especially if you go to waist-high water, the resistance will be greatly amplified. This is the kind of exercise that is recommended if you want to improve your performance and your speed when you run on the ground.

5. It gets easier with time.
The more control you have at mastering the different swimming styles, the more efficiently you slide in the water, which allows you to spend less energy and effort while you go faster. The good news is that the more you practice and train your body, the easier it gets.

6. You can take breaks.
You do not need to interrupt your workout when you are in the water to give a little break to your body during a workout. If you swim, you can add a few relaxing movements like swimming on your side or on your back during one or two minutes (or one or two laps in the pool) until you feel you recuperated well enough to continue your normal training.

7. You can increase the intensity gradually.
The advantage of swimming is that you can bring gradual changes to your routine without any difficulties. You can increase the time you spend swimming and cut down on the length of your breaks. You can monitor your improvements.
It is ideal to maintain flexibility to your joints and firm up your muscles. Because of the low impact on your joints, water helps them to stay more flexible. And because of the resistance the water applies on your body, your muscles are kept firm and strong.

8. Your whole body is supported.
Not only does water offer less impact on your joints, but it is also excellent for support. Your spine will thank you for it. In fact, you do not have to worry about the weight that your body applies to your spine when you are in the water. If you are not a swimming fan, you can still exercise by making gentle movements in water. Train to simply walk in the swimming pool or in the sea with water waist-high to relieve pressure on your joints and on your spine.

You can simply remove so much psychological pressure by going to the beach or to the swimming pool. Just jump in! Before you do so, make sure you follow basic security rules.

Do not forget to hydrate yourself. Even if you are in water, you need to drink water when you exercise. Make sure you protect yourself properly from the sun and the heat.

If you experience difficulties swimming because of neck, back or any discomfort, or if you simply want to improve your performance at exercising, consult a chiropractor.

We have been adjusting triathlon athletes and competition swimmers with fantastic results. One of them, a young lady, had to quit swimming a few years ago after injuring her shoulder and neck. She never thought she could return but after a few adjustments, she was able to go back to the pool and she is delighted to see how easily she is getting back to a much higher level of endurance. We can also recommend exercises that best suit you.

By Sandra Genest-Boudreau | Christophe O. Alves
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Sandra Genest-Boudreau is French-Canadian, who graduated from the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College in 1990 before coming to the Algarve in 2002. She is passionate about adjusting all her patients, particularly children. Christophe Alves graduated from the Anglo-European College of Chiropractic (AECC) UK, and has a special interest in Sport Chiropractic. Algarve Quiroprática clinic: EN125 in Pêra | 282 312 853 | 969 397 375