Do you get headaches when you swim long distance? This one small adjustment might make all the difference…
In a swimming pool, we get used to looking ahead when we swim. It’s important to see who’s in front of us so that we don’t swim into them. But looking forward in the water does not help our spine alignment. Wherever you are sitting or standing right now, look up towards the ceiling or sky and you will immediately notice your neck feeling pinched. This creates tension in the shoulders, reduces blood flow to the brain and compresses the cervical spine. Staying in this position for a long period can lead to muscle pain and headaches.
Adjusting your gaze so that you look directly down in the pool will lengthen the back of your neck, putting you in a more comfortable posture. Relax your neck and let the water support your head naturally.
To ensure you don’t swim into other people or the end of the pool, you can glance up occasionally, but once you have assessed the space around you, then you can return to a downward-looking position. Of course, if you are swimming in open water, rivers and lakes tend to have poor visibility, so you can check your surroundings by “sighting” above the water surface. When your face is in the water, there is no need to look forward.
Try it yourself and see if adjusting your head position when swimming helps to reduce tension and muscle pain.