Understanding the Side Effects of Swimming: Stay Informed

Swimming is a popular and refreshing recreational activity that offers numerous health benefits, ranging from improved cardiovascular fitness to enhanced muscular strength. However, like any physical endeavor, swimming is not exempt from its share of potential drawbacks. In this article, we delve into the lesser-known aspect of this beloved water sport and explore the various side effects of swimming.

From skin and respiratory issues to the impact on the musculoskeletal system, understanding these potential risks is crucial for swimmers of all levels to ensure they can make informed choices and take the necessary precautions to safeguard their well-being while indulging in the pleasures of the water.

side effects of swimming

Side Effects of Swimming

Swimming is a great form of exercise that has many benefits, such as improving cardiovascular health, strengthening muscles, and reducing stress. However, swimming also has some disadvantages and risks that you should be aware of. Here are some of the possible side effects of swimming:

Swimming Injuries

Swimming involves repetitive movements of different strokes, which can put stress on the joints, tendons, and muscles. Some common swimming injuries include:

  • Shoulder impingement: This occurs when the rotator cuff muscles become inflamed or irritated by the repeated overhead motions of swimming. This can cause pain, stiffness, and reduced range of motion in the shoulder.
  • Swimmer’s ear: This is an infection of the outer ear canal caused by water trapped in the ear after swimming. This can lead to itching, redness, swelling, and discharge from the ear.
  • Swimmer’s knee: This is an inflammation of the tendons around the kneecap caused by the kicking motions of swimming. This can cause pain, swelling, and difficulty bending the knee.

To prevent or treat these injuries, it is important to warm up before swimming, use proper technique and equipment, and rest when needed. If the symptoms persist or worsen, consult a doctor for medical advice.

Swimming Risks

Swimming also poses some risks that can affect your health and safety. Some of these risks include:

  • Drowning: This is the most serious and fatal risk of swimming. Drowning can occur when a person is unable to breathe due to being submerged in water. This can be caused by factors such as fatigue, panic, lack of supervision, or medical conditions.
  • Hypothermia: This is a condition where the body temperature drops below normal due to exposure to cold water. This can cause shivering, confusion, drowsiness, and loss of consciousness.
  • Sunburn: This is skin damage caused by exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun. This can cause redness, pain, blisters, and peeling of the skin.

To avoid these risks, it is essential to swim in safe and supervised areas, wear appropriate clothing and sunscreen, and monitor your body’s reactions to the water and the weather.

What are some common mistakes to avoid when swimming?

Some common mistakes to avoid when swimming are:

  • Holding your breath. This can deprive your muscles of oxygen and make you tired faster. You should exhale slowly through your nose while your face is in the water, and inhale when you turn your head to the side.
  • Lifting your head out of the water to breathe. This can disrupt your body alignment and cause your hips to sink, creating more drag and resistance. You should keep your head down and tuck your chin into your neck, and only rotate your face enough to clear the water for breathing.
  • Bending your knees too much or kicking too hard. This can also create more drag and waste energy. You should keep your legs straight and kick from your hips, not your knees. Your kicks should be smooth and steady, not frantic or splashy.
  • Swimming flat, without rotating your hips and shoulders. This can limit the power and reach of your arms, and make you swim slower. You should rotate your body along the long axis as you swim, using your core muscles to drive the movement. This will help you extend your arms further and glide more efficiently.
  • Having a short or fast stroke, without fully extending your arms or gliding in the water. This can reduce the distance you cover per stroke and make you work harder than necessary. You should lengthen your stroke by reaching forward with each arm and gliding for a moment before pulling back. You should also maintain a consistent stroke rate that matches your breathing rhythm.

These are some of the most common swimming mistakes that beginners and even experienced swimmers can make. By avoiding these mistakes and practicing proper technique, you can improve your swimming performance and enjoy this wonderful sport more.


Swimming is a fun and healthy activity that can improve your physical and mental well-being. However, swimming also has some side effects that you should be aware of and take precautions against. By following some simple tips and guidelines, you can enjoy swimming without compromising your health and safety.