According to Dance Magazine, studies suggest that swimming benefits dancers in various ways. Not only does it tone the upper and lower body, but it improves aerobic capacity, reduces lower back pain and helps to reduce stress levels.
According to Ballet Memphasis' physical therapist, Lee Kelly, swimming improves stamina: “Swimming’s regulated breathing pattern leads to an increased oxygen intake [...] The heart rate decreases, so in order to compensate, there is an increase in the volume of blood pumped in each beat, which provides improved cardiac output.”
A Japanese study also suggests that aquatic exercise programs reduces low-back pain. Resisting against the water builds core muscles, which in turn relieves back strain. “For trunk and extremity strengthening, the crawl is excellent because it works on muscle coordination with the opposite arm and leg,” says Kelly.
Dancers also see swimming as a great reliever of stress. “The silence when you go underwater is hard to beat,” says Still. “Ballet is high-impact and swimming is almost like zero gravity.” McBride agrees that swimming can be an escape. “It gives me the peace and quiet to figure things out. I always leave the pool feeling renewed.”