Swimming for Prostate Health

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Swimming for Prostate Health

The weather is warmer, the pools are open, and it’s time to swim- especially if you’re looking to maintain prostate health.

Swimming is a low-impact form of exercise that provides a cardio workout, helps improve muscle strength, and has numerous health benefits that contribute to overall prostate health.

Though all exercise is beneficial to overall health, when it comes to prostate health, particularly for those recovering from prostate cancer, prostatitis, and any other prostate condition- swimming may be the best choice. Though biking has many cardiovascular benefits, it puts pressure on the perineal area ( the area between the anus and scrotum), which can exacerbate uncomfortable symptoms and potentially make things worse.

Swimming, like yoga or pilates, stretches the muscles in a way that feels good and can is also easy on the joints. The buoyancy of being in the water, takes the pressure off of the pelvis and the prostate, allowing for all the benefits of a cardio workout without the risks of irritation.

Research has also shown that swimming can boost overall brain health. Evidence has shown that not only can it improve mood, cognition, and immune response- but it can also alleviate stress, benefit the central nervous system, and- the limited breaths during laps can even help the body to use oxygen more efficiently.

When it comes to swimming, one of the challenges is finding access to a local pool. If you’re lucky enough to have one of your own- use it. Otherwise, pools can be found at local gyms, and many have set times when the pool is exclusively used for working out. Even just swimming once a week, when combined with another form of exercise, such as walking or jogging, can make a big difference.

So what kind of swimming is a workout? Do you just swim back and forth from wall to wall? And for how long?

All the different strokes of swimming can be a good workout. Whether is breaststroke, backstroke, front crawl, side swimming, kickboard kicking, or doggy paddling. It’s all swimming and it’s all beneficial- though maybe leave the doggy paddling to the dogs. To get a good swimming workout, most trainers suggest starting with 15 to 20-minute swims, and then gradually increasing it to 30 minutes.

Of course, this isn’t without taking breaks and making sure to stay hydrated. It’s surprising how many swimmers become dehydrated, as sometimes the sweat from all the exertion gets lost in the pool. But just like running, biking, hiking, and another exercise- hydration is crucial.

Alex Kostich, a former Standford University swimmer, believes in the benefits of swimming. And has even outlined a work-out for those interested in adding swimming to their exercise routine. She laid out the following swim work-out, which can serve as a helpful guide- however, it is just that- a guide. This workout is not the only way to exercise in the pool, but it can give some ideas as to how to structure a workout.

Sample: Basic Training Swim Workout

Warmup: 2 laps (100 meters) Rest

1 lap easy 1 lap fast (repeat five times, with no rest if possible: 500 meters) Rest

2 laps KICK (100 meters)

1 lap backstroke 1 lap freestyle 1 lap breaststroke 1 lap freestyle (200 meters) Rest

Swim down 2 laps (100 meters)

Total: 1,000 meters

Kostich says that “The above workout is an outline for someone wanting to achieve basic conditioning while maintaining muscle tone and flexibility. If it is too much of a challenge, you may need a few swimming lessons to correct your technique before tackling the sets above.” Also, if it’s too much of a challenge, just do what you can do. Start small, even 10 minutes and pay attention to your form- you may discover that you could use a little help with your form and technique.

The bottom line, swimming is an excellent choice when it comes to overall health, and prostate health. It’s a low-impact form of cardio that provides a full-body workout and can aid in weight loss, muscle tone, and development, as well as cardiovascular health- all while reducing stress, improving mood, and best of all- It’s fun!

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