5 Reasons to Start Lap Swimming

I am not an expert swimmer by any stretch of the imagination. The pinnacle of my prowess was graduating from the Advanced Swim class when I was ten years old. I have command of a few strokes, but I am certainly not like the people who glide beautifully up and down the lanes at the CRP pool and clearly competed in high school, college, or both. However, I started swimming two years ago because of an old orthopedic injury; a labral tear in my hip diagnosed ten years ago. My surgeon recently told me to stop running and start swimming or cycling to avoid future surgery.  Because I am a wimp, and terrified of biking the streets of Boston, I decided to look into lap swimming as a way to keep my hip happy.

When I looked deeper into the research, I found that it is incredibly supportive of swimming for personal fitness. Here are just five of the top reasons that you should consider lap swimming this summer at the CRP:

  1. It is a great cardiovascular workout – The average swimmer burns between 120-150 calories in 15 min of swimming. This is equivalent to jogging or being on the elliptical.
  2. There is low impact on your joints – If you have orthopedic injuries such as hip, knee, or low back issues, swimming is a great way to get a workout without subjecting your joints to high compressive loads.
  3. It is an excellent way to cross train – If you are already jogging or cycling, swimming is a nice way to challenge your heart in a new way. It is a very different kind of cardio work out.
  4. You work upper body muscles – Swimming targets a lot of great muscles in your upper body. It hits your lats, deltoids and traps, which aren’t challenged much when running and cycling.
  5. The pool at the CRP is gorgeous – There are not too many outdoor lap pools in the Boston area. The pool at CRP is a great way to get outside, take advantage of exercise-induced endorphins, and accomplish a great work out.


If you are looking for a new cardio challenge which is gentle on joints, great for heart and lungs, you can do outside, and challenges upper body, look no further than lap swimming.  Even if you didn’t compete in college, the CRP is friendly to beginner swimmers who just want to get started.  I will hope to see you in a lane next to me in the near future!

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Diana grew up in a small suburb north of Boston. She received her clinical doctorate degree in Physical Therapy at Boston University in 2006. Diana started practicing as a physical therapist at Massachusetts General Hospital. While at MGH, she developed a specialty in the evaluation and treatment of complex lumbopelvic dysfunction. Diana is currently practicing at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston where she is the Orthopedic Clinical Supervisor of the Spine program. She is presently a Boston resident and her interests outside physical therapy include cooking, walking on the Esplanade, and international travel.

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