With the holiday weekend just around the corner and the warmer weather creeping in, many will be spending time at the pool very soon, especially as a way to stay fit. Sarah McLean, physical therapist, has some tips to help you avoid injury and maximize your performance.
-Your body alignment can affect how hard you need to work when you’re swimming. To reduce drag, keep your head looking towards the bottom of the pool and your hips towards the surface of the water to maintain horizontal alignment. Arm and leg movements should be smooth and clean, avoiding excessively wide or deep kicks.
-Roll your body as a unit and keep your head in line with the trunk when swimming. This will help you to avoid overusing your shoulders and encountering drag.
-Using proper breathing techniques can help you swim better and avoid injury. Bilateral breathing (breathing on both sides) distributes the load on your shoulders and prevents muscle imbalances.
-An instructor or coach can evaluate your stroke techniques/mechanics. See your doctor if you are having any pain while swimming.
Sarah McLean, HSS physical therapist, is certified by the Aquatic Therapy & Rehab Institute, Inc., and offers aquatic therapy services at the James M. Benson Sports Rehabilitation Center and Tisch Sports Performance Center at Hospital for Special Surgery.