Looking for a fun way to get your exercise in during the summer? Take some advice from our favorite animated fish and “just keep swimming.” Not only is swimming the perfect summer exercise because it’s so versatile, but it also allows you to significantly decrease the risk of overheating.
Swimming’s Impact on Your Body
Swimming is great for people of all fitness levels, as it allows for one to do cardio without the added stress on bones, joints, and muscles. Since it’s more difficult to move through water than it is to move through the air, swimmers can use their time in the water as resistance training.
Although you use almost every muscle in your body while swimming, most of the stress is put on your shoulders, arms, and core. In order to avoid “Swimmer’s Shoulder,” which is an aggravated shoulder due to constant joint rotation, it’s best to strengthen your shoulders and core. Here are some easy exercises that you can do at home to help build up the strength in your shoulders and core:
Exercises to Strengthen Your Shoulders & Core
1. Planks (30 seconds 3x daily)
For Beginners: Rest on your forearms and knees, making your body into a straight line from shoulders to knees. Hold it for 30 seconds and repeat at least three times in a row each day. By the end of the third plank, you should feel like you can’t hold yourself up any longer.
To Level Up: Once you get to the point at the end of these three planks when you still have some energy left, pick your knees up off the floor. You should now be balancing on your toes and forearms, making a straight line from shoulders to heels. Hold it for the same 30 seconds, at least 3 times per day. With practice, you will eventually feel like you have energy left after the three planks. You can continue to level up by lifting yourself up to your hands instead of your forearms.
2. Pushups (30 reps 2x daily)
For Beginners: Try standing pushups by standing a foot or two away from a wall. Rest both palms on the wall and bend your elbows to sink toward the wall as if you are doing a pushup, keeping your body in a straight line. Try 30 pushups twice a day.
To Level Up: Once you find yourself at a point when you have energy after doing 30 pushups on the wall, progress to the ground. With your knees resting on the mat, bend your elbows and lower yourself to the floor for a pushup. Do 15 pushups twice a day. Progress again to being on your toes instead of your knees and work towards adding more pushups per set or adding more sets per day!
3. Shoulder Blade Pinch (20 reps 3x daily)
Activate your middle and lower trapezius muscles by pinching your shoulder blades together in the back. Visualize holding a pencil in between your shoulder blades. To help you with your posture, try this up to 20 times in a row a few times during your day.
4. Shoulder Stretch (10 seconds 10x daily)
Thoracic spine mobility is very important for shoulder health. To maintain this mobility, you can perform a stretch while sitting in a chair and leaning backward over it. It is best to hold your hands behind your neck, keeping your elbows in tight to prevent overstretching the neck instead of the upper back. Hold this for 10 seconds and repeat 10 times per day.
Think you might have pain in your shoulders when you move? Contact us at 401-726-7100 to find out how you can regain your mobility through physical therapy. We want you to get better faster so you can get back to the life you love.