It may not seem like it, but stretching before and after a workout is very important and it even applies to swimming. You're gypping your muscles out of the comfort and flexibility that they need by skipping this routine. At first it might not seem like a problem, but over time you could develop serious aches and pains that are symptoms of underlying issues from not stretching. All it takes is a little time before each swim to ensure you're protecting yourself from injuries. Here are some proper stretches to do prior to getting in the pool or when you get out of it.
Wake up the muscles
There are specific stretches designated as pre-workout routines. Since swimming is a full body workout, use dynamic stretching, which is a series of movements that warm up your entire body. Not only can these motions reduce the risk of injury but they can actually improve your power and performance, according to The Huffington Post.
Try out these stretches before getting in the water, provided by Men's Fitness:
Butt and back
If you've never attended a yoga class, Child's Pose is simple to pick up on your own. Grab a towel or a mat and sit alongside your pool. Sit on your mat so that your heels touch your butt, knees and feet should be together. Stretch forward so that your arms are straight in front of you and your face is down towards the ground. Take a long and deep breath in through your nose and release through your mouth. Do this six times before moving onto another stretch.
Arms and legs
Walk in a lunge formation around the perimeter of your pool – 5 steps for each leg. Kick this up a notch by lifting your hands above your head and touch your palms together every time you lunge down towards the ground. Be careful not to bend your back.
For the hips
You're going to need to lean up against the wall of your house for this move. Get down on one knee so that your leg is at a 90 degree angle and then pull the back heel toward your butt. Reach your hand that's on the same side as your back foot so that it's pushed up against the wall. Now, pulse in and out eight times and then switch sides.
Don't hesitate to spend more time isolating muscles that are sore or on parts of your body that you'd like to be more flexible. Roll the shoulders and neck back a few times to prepare them for a swim. Once you're ready to swim, don't forget to stretch once you're out of the water.
After you towel off
Personal trainer Geoff Bagshaw told Best Health Magazine that stretching at the end of a workout should be enjoyable. Consider it a soothing part of exercising that you've earned. According to the source, you should work on the following for about 10 to 15 seconds each.
What's more, it doesn't hurt to walk or swim a couple of easy laps as a cool down exercise. Allowing yourself just a few minutes before and after each workout can feel great and reduce your risk of sustaining a fitness-related injury.
If you're serious about exercise, consider installing a salt system generator into your pool. It can induce a calming effect similar to a spa for your pre- and post-workout routines. What's more, if you're frequently in the water, chlorine generators can irritate your skin and alter your hair color.