When the weather becomes hot, and everyone begins to plan fun activities to enjoy, one of the many activities that come to mind is hanging out in the pool. Swimming is an excellent way to combat the summer heat, but it can provide much more for the body. For athletes, it provides another form of cardio exercise to improve their quality performance when they are competing. While for individuals looking for an affordable exercise regime or just some fun activity to do, swimming can become form of therapy and be beneficial for them if they were previously injured. Today’s article looks at how swimming causes an impact on the musculoskeletal system, its beneficial properties to the heart, and how aqua therapy combined with chiropractic care helps optimize full-body health. We refer patients to certified providers specializing in musculoskeletal treatments and hydrotherapy to help those with musculoskeletal disorders. We also guide our patients by referring to our associated medical providers based on their examination when it’s appropriate. We find that education is the solution to asking our providers insightful questions. Dr. Alex Jimenez DC provides this information as an educational service only. Disclaimer
Water exercises or swimming can benefit those looking for different cardio exercises to build muscle endurance or have clear sense of mind. Swimming is fantastic for all body sizes, and when it is done correctly, it can be highly recognized as a form of rehabilitation and injury recovery known as aquatic therapy. Research studies reveal that aquatic treatments and exercises can significantly reduce pain in individuals that suffer from low back pain while increasing physical function. Some of the impacts that swimming/aquatic therapy provides on the musculoskeletal system include:
Swimming/ hydrotherapy is an excellent low-impact exercise that is easy on the back and spine, especially for individuals suffering from low back pain or spinal misalignments. Studies reveal that the efficacy of aquatic activities helps strengthen the abdominals and legs and stretch the back while managing musculoskeletal issues.
When individuals suffer from back pain associated with chronic issues can become concerning for the vital organs that have causal relationship with the muscle as they are affected as well. When spinal joints and muscles begin to suffer from abnormal weight increases, the muscles and ligaments become misaligned. Misalignment or subluxation is defined as spinal vertebrates that are out of place and cause pressure on the surrounding nerves exiting the spinal cord. These spinal issues then become a risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders in the body. Unlike many aerobic exercises like running or cycling that may be hard on the spine, swimming has little to no impact on the spinal structures. So when individuals begin to take up swimming, they realize that the water buoyancy helps support their body weight while relieving stress on all joints and decompressing the spine. This gives the individual a greater range of motion, while the water gives off a sense of purification as it helps the body relax. Hence, hydrotherapy helps relax people who suffer from obesity or muscle injuries associated with muscle and joint pain as the water provides gentle resistance while relaxing the muscles to promote longer exercise sessions.
Swimming or any form of water aerobics is not only beneficial to the musculoskeletal system but can help improve cardiac function in the heart and even the lungs. Studies reveal that swimming is an effective option for maintaining and enhancing cardiovascular fitness. Some of the benefits swimming provides for the cardiovascular system include:
But how does swimming improve cardiovascular function in the body? Individuals submerge themselves underwater; they hold their breath until the air is needed. Being submerged underwater may help lung capacity while gaining control of how a person breathes. Breathing exercises associated with aqua therapy help promote stronger lungs and heart while increasing their capacity for blood and airflow to the heart and lungs. Say, for example, a person is having trouble breathing due to restrictive blood and air flow associated with cardiopulmonary issues, which potentially be involved in experiencing an asthma attack associated with obesity.
Have you wanted to try a different form of cardio exercise? Have you been experiencing a limited range of motion in your arms, shoulders, back, and neck? Do you feel tightness across your chest? The video above gives an overview explanation of the health benefits of swimming. Swimming or aquatic therapy allows the individual experiencing chronic pain issues to do cardio activities without increasing or worsening pain, which is very therapeutic for the body. Many people are either training for an athletic event or finding a leisure activity that will benefit them in the long run. Swimming is considered an important factor in a person’s quality of life as it helps them become motivated to make small changes to better their health. Additionally, regular cardiovascular exercises/activities like swimming benefit pain reduction in a therapeutic sense. When individuals are trying to figure out and determine the proper training or therapy that can help alleviate their specific ailments, their goal is to see how those exercises should be done in a certain amount of time without causing fatigue or increased pain as the primary objective.
When looking for the proper exercise regime or treatment for pain issues, it can be challenging to see what works and doesn’t. For those with musculoskeletal disorders related to chronic issues, aqua therapy and chiropractic care go hand in hand in alleviating pain. Aqua therapy exercises can range from simple routines in shallow waters to high-tech equipment like underwater treadmills for muscle conditioning. Active water therapy exercises that are diverse in relieving musculoskeletal pain should be tailored to the person and the specific conditions that are ailing them.
But how does chiropractic care work hand in hand with aqua therapy? Well, chiropractic care and exercise have a casual relationship when it comes to treating musculoskeletal disorders. Many individuals do suffer from spinal misalignment, which becomes a risk of developing musculoskeletal issues that cause discomfort. Since many individuals associate chiropractic care with back issues, the reality shows that chiropractic care not only helps with back issues but various issues that affect the muscles, joints, and organs related to each other. An example would be an individual with low back problems who cannot do any activities for long periods while triggering gut issues. This is defined as somato-visceral pain where affected muscles associated with internal organs trigger pain. So for chiropractor to adjust an individual dealing with back pain associated with gut or heart issues can slowly restore the person’s natural alignment by reducing the irritated nerve roots between the vertebrae and strengthening the surrounding muscles and tissues. Afterward, a chiropractor may recommend exercises like aquatic therapy to speed up the rehabilitation process, as studies reveal that physical activities are perceived to have a positive impact on health while being associated with perceived symptom reductions in musculoskeletal and injuries, as well as cardiovascular and blood conditions. Once a chiropractic regimen and exercise routine are in place, injury prevention kicks in, keeping the individual moving pain-free.
Whether it is having fun in the sun or finding a new exercise, swimming is not only for just playing but can be therapeutic for individuals dealing with chronic issues. Any aquatic exercise provides little to no impact on the body as it helps strengthen the musculoskeletal and cardiovascular systems with gentle force. Combined with chiropractic care, many individuals that are dealing with musculoskeletal issues associated with chronic organ issues will begin to become motivated to better themselves in the long run.
Ariyoshi, Mamoru, et al. “Efficacy of Aquatic Exercises for Patients with Low-Back Pain.” The Kurume Medical Journal, Kurume University School of Medicine, 11 Aug. 2009, www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/kurumemedj1954/46/2/46_2_91/_article.
Lazar, Jason M, et al. “Swimming and the Heart.” International Journal of Cardiology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 18 Apr. 2013, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23602872/.
Massey, Heather, et al. “Perceived Impact of Outdoor Swimming on Health: Web-Based Survey.” Interactive Journal of Medical Research, JMIR Publications, 4 Jan. 2022, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8767464/.
Shi, Zhongju, et al. “Aquatic Exercises in the Treatment of Low Back Pain: A Systematic Review of the Literature and Meta-Analysis of Eight Studies.” American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Feb. 2018, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28759476/.
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The information herein on "Swimming Might Improve Your Musculoskeletal System" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, or licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.
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Our information scope is limited to Chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, contributing etiological viscerosomatic disturbances within clinical presentations, associated somatovisceral reflex clinical dynamics, subluxation complexes, sensitive health issues, and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions.
We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from a wide array of disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system.
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Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, ATN*
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Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, CIFM*, IFMCP*, ATN*, CCST
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