Swim Your Way to Better Health

Swimming can benefit almost every aspect of your health, from your heart to your joints and muscles to your brain.

Swimming provides low-impact exercise that stretches and builds muscles. Because you are nearly weightless in water, your joints don’t experience any jolts like during running. The stretching motion you make with each stroke can also increases muscle flexibility and strength, other important factors in reducing arthritis pain and staying active.

Additionally, your heart benefits greatly from the aerobic exercise provided by swimming. It can make your heart more efficient in pumping blood, strengthen the walls of your arteries and lower blood pressure. Aerobic exercise also lowers your risk for diabetes and improves your cholesterol.

Even your overall mood can be boosted by swimming. You can reduce your stress level much like you can with yoga, by gently stretching your muscles and breathing in a controlled manner. The exercise also releases endorphins, chemicals in your brain that can help reduce feelings of pain and increase feelings of pleasure. Research has even shown that while swimming, your brain replaces cells that were lost during stress.

Haley Scott DeMaria, a former competitive swimmer, knows all of these benefits of swimming, but after being paralyzed in an accident thought she may have lost the ability to swim for good. Haley is coming to Hampton Roads on October 24 to share her story of overcoming tremendous odds and getting back on her feet and in the pool. I have the privilege of introducing her at the event and hope you will join us. Please visit bshr.com/haley to learn more and register for the event.

— Jocelyn Ricasa, MD

About Dr. Ricasa – Jocelyn Ricasa, MD, is a board-certified physician specializing in sports medicine. She holds a doctor of medicine degree from Eastern Virginia Medical School. Also at EVMS, she completed the combined family medicine and internal medicine residency, during which she served as chief resident in her final year. Additionally, she completed a fellowship in primary care sports medicine at Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia, Pa.

Dr. Ricasa is board-certified in family medicine, internal medicine and sports medicine. She is a member of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM), American Academy of Family Physicians and American College of Physicians. She is fluent in English and Spanish.

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