Swimming is hard. Physically exhausting. In an Ironman triathlon, you have a 112-mile bike and a 2.4-mile swim. That should give you an idea of the difficulty. But don't mistake effort for mindless work. We have a narrow view of what swimming is and how to include it in our workouts. For most, it's lap after lap of drudgery. Maybe it's time to update our ideas on swimming as an open adventure, as a way to play Aquaman, even as a recovery tool.
Swim to Recover
While swimming is a great workout, it's also one of the best activities for recovery. It improves the flexibility in your arms and shoulders, and surrounds your body with pressurization. Basically, the water can work like a compression suit to increase blood flow, which allows your body to filter your blood better. I talked to Bill Romanowski, who didn't miss a game for 15 years as a linebacker in the NFL. He said the pool is one of the things that allowed him to survive. He would always go to the pool and do either a form of pool training or swimming to flush lactic acids out of the body. Whether you have muscle damage from lifting or damage from impact, you're dealing with the same issues: Damaged tissue needs blood flow. It's really hard to pull anything, too. I mean, it's hard to hurt yourself swimming. There's just not enough resistance.
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