Don’t Let Your Health Belly Flop!


By: Maureen Stevens, PT, DPT, Cert MDT, GCS

Throughout my life, when asked about my hobbies, swimming has always been at the top of the list. So as we head into the hot summer months, my thoughts immediately turn to the benefits of swimming for people of all ages. First, being in water, even without swimming, allows people to unweight body parts that may need more gentle exercise, while also giving an opportunity to add resistance. Water can remove up to 90% of your body weight, depending on how deep you go. Yet, when you move against the flow of water, you can create resistance. This can be especially helpful for anyone recovering from an injury, allowing them to go through full motion, while also being able to stress the muscles and joints to their available tolerance.

Swimming is a valuable form of exercise and a great option for the summer. In addition to the above benefits of being in the water, swimming can help with weight loss as it is a full body workout that builds cardiovascular endurance. According to, just 30 minutes of swimming can burn anywhere from 200-450 calories depending on which stroke you are doing. By improving cardiovascular fitness, your risk of certain diseases can decrease, however unlike other cardiovascular exercises, with swimming you won’t even notice you’re sweating! Since swimming is gentler on your body, most people are able to tolerate more time in a pool than with other types of exercise, which helps to reduce someone’s level of inactivity. Generally, when you get active, your energy level will also improve, giving you the chance to go out and enjoy the beautiful summertime weather and fun festivities. So, jump in! The water is fine!

About the Author

Maureen Stevens, PT, DPT, Cert MDT, GCS

Doctor of Physical Therapy

Certified in the McKenzie Method (Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy)

Geriatric Clinical Specialist

Maureen is a Senior Physical Therapist and the Clinical Supervisor for the Inpatient Rehabilitation Team at RWJ Hamilton. Maureen completed her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Stockton University. She recently received her Geriatric Clinical Specialist, which is a certification process for physical therapists that show their commitment to providing the best evidence based care to older adults.