Friday, December 4, 2009

Aquatic Therapy and Physical Training

When I was a kid our neighbor Al had shoulder surgery. Al was an old timer who spent some of his free time helping my Cub Scout den make those little wood cars for the derby, and the derby was always a big deal.

So it was only natural that when Al had his shoulder surgery my parents let him come over and use our swimming pool for therapy. At the time I remember wondering why Al "wasn't really swimming" but instead walking in place and doing a very slow breath stroke in the shallow end. Then my mother explained to me that he had been injured and the pool was an important part of his rehabilitation.

This was when I realized that a swimming pool could be something more than just for play or for racing my friends. Now when I swim it's either for soothing relaxation or exercise.

One of my favorite exercises, back when I was surfing a lot a few years ago, was to swim underwater laps. The resistance was greater a few feet under the surface, or at least it felt that way, and it expanded my lung capacity. My body was trained to stay calm while underwater, always useful when surfing.

Swimming pools offer you weightless strength and stamina training, meaning less stress on your joints than a land based workout. A pool like the Hyrdroworx has taken this to a new level and is used by collegiate and professional sports teams.

A pool like the Hydroworx can be used inside or outside your home, and you could also build a small pool deck around it if you wanted to. Visit the Hydroworx website for an example.

If you have an above ground pool already but it's now too cold to use it, then consider using a local aquatic center or see if your gym has a swimming pool. Swimming burns calories very quickly, is a total body workout, and is much easier on your body than a land based workout.

As always, be safe while swimming and if necessary improve your swimming skills before taking to an Olympic size pool, doing underwater laps like I did, or attempting an advanced stroke.

Happy holidays!


Paul Ottaviano - How to Build a Pool Deck