August: tips for swimming
Now That Summer Is Finally Here Take A Dip Without Pain or Injury.
BC Physiotherapists share 4 tips to prevent injury, alleviate pain and keep swimmers moving for life.
Vancouver, BC August 3, 2011 | The dog days of summer are finally here. It has been a long wait for summer in British Columbia and for those not acclimatized to the heat, jumping in the nearest lake, river, ocean or pool will no doubt be top of mind. The Physiotherapy Association of British Columbia wants to ensure that everyone who does take a dip, whether it’s to simply cool off or to enjoy some low impact and high aerobic exercise, does so pain and injury free.
“Although swimming has a relatively low risk of sport related injury, swimmers often complain of shoulder pain. This can be caused by muscle overuse and incorrect technique,” says Rebecca B. Tunnacliffe, CEO of the Physiotherapy Association of BC. By making stroke adjustments swimmers can not only minimize pain and prevent injury, they can also improve performance. “By following some simple steps, that we call the Physio-4, swimmers can reduce their chances for injury, prevent pain and swim more effectively,” adds Tunnacliffe.
The Physio-4 for Swimming:
1. Be mindful of body rotation. Never swim with a “flat body” as this limits the rotation of the shoulder along the axis of the spine. Develop a symmetrical way to rotate your body for an efficient breathing pattern and this will greatly reduce the risk of shoulder injuries.
2. Enter the water with a flat hand. A hand directed outwards when entering the water leads to unhealthy internal rotation. This is one of the most common causes of acute pain in the shoulder as it overuses the muscles. It is best to enter the water with a flat hand, fingertips first.
3. Maintain good posture. The saying “shoulders back, chest forward” applies both in and out of the water. Hunched or rounded shoulders can lead to a wide arm recovery that causes shoulder injuries and “cross-overs” in your stroke. Strengthening the muscles at the back of the shoulder and stretching those at the front will help prevent injury, and help you to swim faster.
4. Incorporate bilateral breathing into your swim workout. Breathing only on one side will develop the muscles on that side more than the other. This can eventually lead to shoulder problems. By breathing on both sides with every workout you can prevent this from happening.
It’s important to remember to stay safe when swimming outdoors, never dive head first into water unless the depth is known. And, when swimming in lakes or oceans be aware of any natural hazards such as tides and rapids, never swim alone and keep a very close eye on children in or around water.
The PABC created the Physio-4 to share the expertise of its members with fellow British Columbians. “Each month, on our website (movingforlife.ca), we provide 4 tips for a specific activity or health issue relating to that month to help keep British Columbians moving for life,” says Tunnacliffe. “We want British Columbians to know that if they are injured or in pain, a physiotherapist can help. After all, we are the healthcare professionals physicians recommend most,” she states.
The Physio-4 for Swimming is designed to keep swimmers pain and injury free.