Injuries are the fear of every athlete as they can have a big knock on effect in a physical and psychological way. Getting a stress fracture means you could be out of training for 2 months. This will have a big impact on your fitness if you do nothing! People react to getting an injury in many different ways. For example, you can gain weight if you don’t control your diet or lose a considerable amount of cardiovascular fitness.
There are many injuries that will make you physically inactive. Training in a swimming pool is a great way to maintain your cardiovascular fitness.
You must do some exercise above 70% of your VO2 Max in order to maintain your aerobic fitness. Otherwise if you don’t do anything for 2-3 weeks your fitness levels decrease. Running in water with a flotation vest is a great way to simulate running and can be done with most injuries. Water running is a total body exercise that works your legs, arms and trunk, and positively uses your cardiovascular system.
Unlike a lot of other aerobic activities (e.g. running, rowing, cycling) training in a swimming pool is very low impact which means the injury you are sustaining won’t get damaged even more than it already is. Furthermore, the bones, joints and ligaments that are damaged will be supported by water. The water gives you enough resistance to provide aerobic conditioning.
In a swimming pool you are giving the body a full range of motion with a variety of different exercises, you can target muscles around your injured area. For example breast stroke targets your chest and thighs. Front/back crawl targets your arms and shoulders.
Helps with Mood and Stress Levels
Like most aerobic exercises swimming stimulates the endorphins which results in your mood being lifted and stress levels being reduced. Furthermore, with a combination of your muscles being stretched and rhythmic breathing is a relaxing meditative to your body which is equal to the relaxation you get while doing yoga.