Every person who lives an active lifestyle or has previously lived an active lifestyle knows the pain of getting injured—both literally and metaphorically. Breaking bones obviously is something you can’t work through while it is in a cast or boot and healing. But through strained and pulled muscles often times it’s just annoying and the motivation to continue working out generally decreases. Painful. While it is understandable that most injuries require a period of rest, as the body is pretty much yelling at you to stop or that you’re doing something wrong, sometimes it is good to continue exercising after that period but just at a lesser intensity.
Recently I have been trying to work through some neck and back muscle strain. Initially it had been causing headaches so I resorted to taking a break from heavy lifting and weighted exercises while focusing more on yoga and stretching daily. Eventually the headaches went away which was a great sign but my neck and back muscles were still tight. I wanted to lift, but I didn’t want to injure myself more. I can only go so many days without doing some type of physical activity other than stretching and walking. So I thought to myself: “What kind of exercise can I do that will still invigorate and challenge my whole body without putting the weight on it?”
I got it. Swimming. Why I didn’t remember this earlier I have no idea, I used to lap swim for exercise when I was in high school, guess I’m getting old and my memory is going. In any case, swimming is both therapy as much as it is a workout, exercise, etc. Whatever you’d like to call it. There is no physical strain such as weight lifting yet your muscles are still challenged against the water in order propel yourself forward (or backward).
Swimming not only gets your muscles going at an intensity you can control fluidly, it also uses rotary motions. Your shoulders and neck are getting some form of mobility stimulation which for me, is exactly what I need right now. Naturally I went lap swimming for about a half hour Saturday and Sunday morning—although my neck is giving me issues, it has helped alleviate the limited range of motion I have been experiencing.
Go swim, enjoy the water. Don’t forgo exercising completely when you have sustained a manageable injury. Try to work through it at a lower intensity—this process may also help your body build more strength!