As pools begin reopening in Oregon, many of you will be getting back into the water for the first time in several months. After having not swum for an extended period of time, it is important to ease your body back into swimming regularly again. In order to avoid possible injury, it is going to be important to keep your expectations reasonable as you return to the water and swimming. Be careful with your shoulders as you begin your transformation back into a swimming superhero. I’d highly recommend starting a rotator cuff strengthening program if you don’t do one already.
Here’s a good video of some rotator cuff strengthening exercises demonstrated:
And for a quicker read, below is an image of most of the exercises I try to do regularly to keep my shoulders healthy.
Something else to consider, particularly if you have any medical conditions, is to not put too much stress on your body during the first couple of weeks. If you are swimming with a group in a coached workout, the temptation to push yourself harder than you should will almost certainly exist. Be careful and smart about how hard and far you swim, and be sure to check in with your body often to be aware of anything it might be telling you. Allow your muscles and cardiovascular system some time to readjust to swimming regularly and getting your heart-rate elevated again.
After a few swims, and as you begin to feel stronger and recoup some of the swim fitness you may have lost, then you can consider gradually increasing the intensity level and distance of each workout.
Again, the most important things are to:
- listen carefully to your body – slow down or finish practice early if you aren’t feeling well
- try not to push too hard too quickly – give your body a few practices before upping the intensity
- protect your shoulders by doing rotator cuff strengthening exercises – it will also be very important
I am looking forward to seeing all of you again at an Oregon event in the not-too-distant future!