5 Reasons to Start Swimming to Benefit Your Health

Going for a swim in the summer can keep you cool when out in the sun. It can also benefit your health in several ways. Here are 5 reasons to hit the pool this summer:

  1. It offers a full-body resistance workout. In order to swim effectively, your body must incorporate the use of the muscles in your hands all the way down to your feet. The water offers resistance against the body that will help to keep your muscles strong.
  2. It promotes cardiovascular and lung health. Swimming laps in the pool can improve your heart’s ability to pump blood to the rest of the body. It can also improve lung capacity and efficiency.
  3. It reduces stress on the body and joints. Water provides buoyancy that lessens the impact of your body weight when swimming, providing a lower impact form of exercise than land based exercises such as running.
  4. It can decrease pain. Water can have a soothing effect on aching muscles and joints. It also promotes increased joint range of motion and body movement that may be difficult to perform on land if you have chronic pain.
  5. It is good for all ages and fitness levels. Whether you are young or old, in shape or out of shape, swimming is a fun way to help you achieve your fitness goals and keep you healthy.

Written by: Dr. David Reymann

How to Exercise Safely in Hot Weather

As the hot summer months approach, it is important to be aware of hot weather safety while staying active outdoors. Listed below are some precautions you should take before exercising outdoors this summer.

 

Stay Hydrated – The increased summer temperatures will lead to increased fluid loss through sweating. It is important to drink water throughout the day and increase fluid intake when exercising to replenish the body’s supply.

Dress Appropriately – Wear light-weight, light colored clothing to reflect heat and aide in the evaporation of sweat. Avoid dark-colored clothing that absorbs light and heat.

Take Your Time – Initially, decrease the intensity of your workout to avoid overexertion. As your body adjusts to the heat with more frequent workouts, gradually increase the length and intensity of your exercise routine.

 Watch the Temperature and Time of Day – Exercise in the morning or evening, when the temperature is cooler. If there is a heat advisory or the temperature feels too hot to exercise comfortably, consider taking your workout routine indoors.

Know Your Medical History – Certain medical conditions or medications may place you at an increased risk for an adverse event when too much stress is placed on the body. Consult with your health care providers to ensure that you are performing the appropriate types of exercises under the right conditions.

Listen to Your Body – If any of the following symptoms occur while out in the heat, it is important to seek immediate medical attention: confusion, irritability, dizziness, headache, nausea, vomiting, visual impairment, headaches, or muscle cramping.

Sit to Stand Exercise

Do you ever want to give your therapist a standing ovation, but are unable to? Well the sit to stand exercise is a good exercise to strengthen the muscles in the abdomen and thighs to help with this activity. With improved strength comes improved balance and overall function. Here’s the proper way to perform the exercise:

1. Sit in middle or toward front of chair with your knees bent and feet flat on floor.

2. Slightly lean forward with your head and shoulders, while simultaneously lifting you buttocks from the chair. Use your hands as little as possible (or not at all, if you can)

3. Keep your back straight as you come up, so that you feel your abdominal/low back muscles do the work.

4. Slowly sit back down.

5. Keep back and shoulders straight throughout exercise.

6. Repeat. A good number to shoot for would be 5-10 repetitions.

The goal is to be able to increase your reps and require less use of hands as you become stronger.
Sit to Stand

The Importance of your Physical Therapy Home Exercise Program

Not performing your home exercises while undergoing physical therapy and even after discharge from physical therapy is comparable to taking only half of a prescribed antibiotic. You will not get the maximum outcomes from your physical therapy. The goal of the home exercise program is to re-condition the body, restore function, and reduce/manage symptoms.

Exercising at home helps to condition the body between physical therapy sessions. If a person relies only on physical therapy sessions and does not perform a home exercise program, the body will not build improved function or retain muscle memory between sessions.

Common reasons for not performing the prescribed exercises are decreased home exercises include pain with exercises, lack of motivation due to perceived lack of improvements, unhappiness from the loss of function caused by the problem, and just being plain busy. If you fall under any of the above categories, talk to your physical therapist so a practical and tailored exercise program can be developed and followed that match your lifestyle.

Tips on Staying Fit During the Winter

Winter weather is upon us! Even though temperatures are dropping, there are many options to continue exercising safely. If you spent the warmer months exercising outdoors, but continued making monthly membership ‘donations’ to your local fitness center, use this winter to redeem your money’s worth of classes and workouts! Gyms offer plenty of indoor cardio, conditioning, and strengthening exercise options. Most gyms also offer fitness classes if you like the group setting. If a gym membership is not your thing, there are also many exercise options online, TV on Demand, or on DVD. If you still plan to battle the elements and exercise outdoors through the winter months, be sure to make use of warm, protective clothing. Proper footwear, warm socks, hats, gloves, and layers are all important! Also, remember winter brings shorter hours of daylight so use reflective gear whenever necessary! Always remember safety first and consider alternatives to outdoor exercise when icy or extra cold outside!

Warm-up Ideas Before Exercise

Before you exercise, you need to perform a 5 minute warm-up to get the blood circulating to prepare your body for the activity. Depending on your form of exercise, it is always good practice to mimic your exercise activity at a lower intensity for a warm-up. Below is a list of warm-up activities.

– walk slowly for 3-5 minutes
– march in place for 5 minutes
– do 10-15 squats
– move your ankles in a circle and pump them up and down
– stand on one leg and swing the other back and forth
– move arms in circles in front of you and out to the side
– reach overhead several times
– put your arms out to your side and twist left and right

If you want a more aggressive warm up for running, you can perform jumping jacks, walk up and down stairs, or perform a fast pace walk to progress into a run.