Here at ChiroPlus, we often encourage regular activity for our patients. “Movement is medicine” is one of our favorite sayings, and activities which incorporate full body movement are especially helpful. Swimming is one of the most popular sports worldwide due to its effect on health and well-being1. With summer right around the corner, we thought we’d take a minute to share some of the well-documented health benefits associated with swimming:
Swimming has been described as the ultimate “all-in-one fitness package” where most muscles in the body are utilized2.
People report enjoying water-based exercise more than exercising on land3. They can also exercise longer in water than on land without increased effort or joint or muscle pain4,5.
Swimming offers support for the whole body – the joints and the spine. It is a low-impact activity and you don’t have to worry about the weight of your body on your spine or your posture when you move your body through water6.
Water-based exercise can help people with arthritis improve the use of their arthritic joints without worsening symptoms7. Water-based exercise can also improve the use of affected joints and decrease pain from osteoarthritis8. Even if you’re not a swimmer, you can still use the water for gentle exercise: do some walking workouts waist-deep in a swimming pool to take the pressure off your joints and back while still getting movement6.
Swimming can improve mood9!
Water-based exercise can improve the health of pregnant people and has a positive effect on the pregnant person’s mental health10. (Hartmann)
Water-based exercise can benefit older adults by improving their quality of life and decreasing disability11. It can also improve or help maintain the bone health of post-menopausal women12.
Swimmers have about half the risk of death compared with inactive people13.
It keeps you cool, and it’s a lot of fun for the whole family!
Enjoy the summer, enjoy being active, and enjoy the water!!
Dr. Michelle Drover, Chiropractor
Photo Credit: Michelle Drover
Howells, K. and Jarman, D. (2016) Benefits of swimming for young children. Physical Education Matters, 11 (3). pp. 20-21. ISSN 1751-0988.
Turley, K. (1997) Cardiovascular Responses to Exercise in Children in Sports Medicine Vol 24: 4 pp.241 – 257.
Lotshaw AM, Thompson M, Sadowsky S, Hart MK, and Millard MW. Quality of life and physical performance in land- and water-based pulmonary rehabilitation. J Cardiopulm Rehab. 2007;27:247-51
Broman G, Quintana M, Engardt M, Gullstrand L, Jansson E, and Kaijser L. Older women’s cardiovascular responses to deep-water running. J Aging Phys Act. 2006;14(1):29-40.
Cider A, Svealv BG, Tang MS, Schaufelberger M, and Andersson B. Immersion in warm water induces improvement in cardiac function in patients with chronic heart failure. Eur J Heart Fail. 2006;8(3):308-13.
Canadian Chiropractic Association. 9 benefits of getting your exercise in the pool, lake or ocean. April 13, 2023. Online at chiropractic.ca
Westby MD. A health professional’s guide to exercise prescription for people with arthritis: a review of aerobic fitness activities. Arthritis Rheum. 2001;45(6):501-11.
Bartels EM, Lund H, Hagen KB, Dagfinrud H, Christensen R, Danneskiold-Samsøe B. Aquatic exercise for the treatment of knee and hip osteoarthritis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016;3:CD005523.
Berger BG, and Owen DR. Mood alteration with yoga and swimming: aerobic exercise may not be necessary. Percept Mot Skills. 1992;75(3 Pt 2):1331-43.
Hartmann S and Bung P. Physical exercise during pregnancy—physiological considerations and recommendations. J Perinat Med. 27(3):204-15.
Sato D, Kaneda K, Wakabayashi H, and Nomura T. The water exercise improves health-related quality of life of frail elderly people at day service facility. Qual Life Res. 2007;16:1577-85.
Rotstein A, Harush M, and Vaisman N. The effect of water exercise program on bone density of postmenopausal Women. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2008;48(3):352-9.
Chase NL, Sui X, Blair SN. 2008. Swimming and all-cause mortality risk compared with running, walking, and sedentary habits in men. Int J of Aquatic Res and Educ. 2(3):213-23.