Swimming As A Way Back To Fitness

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Swimming As A Way Back To Fitness

Post  Perry Gamsby on Thu Jan 27, 2011 4:02 am

I suffered some serious health issues a year or two back. My weight ballooned and I had robotic heart surgery, died, 8 day coma, the whole nine yards. Since then getting back into a shape other than round has been a priority. I have always been solid and larger than most but not soft and squishy. That has been embarrassing for me to be truthful, despite the reasons why. I have tried walking, working the bag and tyres (sticks) and the usual stuff but I was never able to exert enough effort to make any difference before collapsing. You can have all the will power in the world but when your cardiologist explains why it your ton of guts will only get you dead, you have to pay attention. Finally I rediscovered a way to get back into shape that is proving the best for me out of everything. Swimming.

I am swimming laps at the local pool and loving it. I started doing just ten laps of the 25m indoor pool and worked my way up to now doing that and a bit more in the outdoor 50m pool. In just four weeks I have noticed the changes beginning. My saddle bags under the armpits are shrinking and my pectorals (formerly known as 'Man Boobs') are tightening and lifting. I know this because I can now see the nine inch scar from the surgeons' attempt to re-inflate my right lung and get me living again where once it hid under a floppy tit.

Most of the benefit is being felt in my range of movement and cardio/aerobic fitness. It is still early days but already I am feeling more energized and wanting to move more. For anyone who is looking for a way to ease back into a more strenuous routine, especially if, like me, you are turning 50 this year, I can't recommend anything more highly than swimming. From a cost-return perspective it costs me AUD$4.50, say 2 quid or the same $4.50 in US$ to enjoy the heated pool or the outdoor one. I'm swimming three times a week. I plan to take up the six month $185 swim every day deal once I am ready to swim daily with no rest period. I'll get half of that back from my private health insurance. Before the end of this year I plan to return to scuba diving, swim to land from 1km out to sea and do a few other things to celebrate my half century. My message to all you young, fit, hard as nails super athletes out there.... use it or lose it and don't be surprised if you lose it anyway. You never know what life has in store so grab it with both hands and scare the crap out of it. Cheers Perry
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Re: Swimming As A Way Back To Fitness

Post  stevie b on Thu Jan 27, 2011 4:43 am

One of my mates is a keen swimmer and hes in fantastic shape!

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Re: Swimming As A Way Back To Fitness

Post  Raymond Page on Thu Jan 27, 2011 11:16 am

A mate of mine weighed in at 27st,after going swimming every day for the last 18 months and eating sensibly,he's now down to a lean,mean 14st. Cool

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Re: Swimming As A Way Back To Fitness

Post  mickeybluejeans on Thu Jan 27, 2011 11:58 am

swimming has lots of advantages for keeping fit but the big disadvantage is you tend to daydream as you swim which mean your pace and intensity drops.

I swim 4 times a week as a warm down after weight training ( I go to one of these posh gyms that has a swimming pool Smile ) and unless I alter my stroke or do lengths with just my arms it becomes very boring

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Re: Swimming As A Way Back To Fitness

Post  David Turton on Fri Jan 28, 2011 2:08 am

the main physical disadvantage to swimming is the lack of BONE development due to the body being supported instead of the bone structure acting as a support mechanism, then it gets stronger due to the stresses being put on it
doesnt happen in swimming

other than that..swimming is GREAT

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Re: Swimming As A Way Back To Fitness

Post  stevie b on Fri Jan 28, 2011 5:02 am

would never have known that! so really swimming shouldnt be your main form of exercise?

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Re: Swimming As A Way Back To Fitness

Post  jasonr on Sat Jan 29, 2011 1:57 am

Swimming is great.

I know a very athletic guy who swims as his sole form of exercise because running blew his knees out. For him, swimming is his entire fitness routine and he is super fit.

I try to swim at least once and generally twice a week to balance running, bike, weights and judo. There are some weeks when I swim more because something is hurting (knee, ankle, back) and other weeks when I swim less.

People say swimming is low impact and it is. But it can take a toll on your body in my experience, especially the shoulders.

To me, swimming is a great general form of exercise either on its own or in combination with other things. The biggest downside is that the fitness benefits from swimming seem to translate across to other activities less.

That's irrelevant if you simply want to keep fitter or get leaner. However, I find running and bodyweight circuits prepare you better for combat sports if that's your thing.

Finally, a question: what's the best form of exercise? The one you are doing.

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Re: Swimming As A Way Back To Fitness

Post  David Turton on Sat Jan 29, 2011 2:07 am

your bone structure strengthens and grows subject to the 'stresses' (or laods) put on it, simple a sthat.
a man weighing 80kgs out of the water has to 'carry' that weight when walking etc, IN the water he is less than 40kgs, so his bone structure cant grow..

tennis players have larger radius and ulna bones in their racket arms than their other one and so on through many sports.

for flexibility, cardio, suppleness, muscle tone and development etc , swimming rates high indeed, and can be used as a 'core' for your fitness regime, but some form of other work will help, doesnt HAVE to be weights, just calisthenics or similar would do

there simply ISNT one single exercise that covers all, so vartiety is great

and to quote .. "If you like an exercise, you an be sure it likes you"

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Re: Swimming As A Way Back To Fitness

Post  Perry Gamsby on Sat Jan 29, 2011 9:08 am

Today I did 40 laps, 1km (25m pool) and the last 20 were all doubles. I will walk tomorrow to make sure the bone density etc keeps pace with the upper body/cardio improvements. I weighed in at 163kg two months ago, my heaviest a while back was 165kg and I got down to 144kg after three months low carb and hard walking - then got hit with the heart problem. I used to box at 110kg and won the WEKAF stickfighting at 118kg, so I'm used to being heavy and at 6'2" used to carry it fairly well. No idea what my weight is now and don't care. What is important is how well I breathe, move, live, fight. My clothes will tell me the progress I'm making.

When the laps get to the 2km a day or 80 lap rate, I will go back onto the bike and rowing machine on alternate days to swimming as well as the boxing workout, tyres (sticks) and so on. My days of having a crack at Randy Couture are over but I do hope to get down to a decent BMI and 110kg or so.

On an interesting historical note, I was reading 'The Painted Veil' by W. Somerset Maugham written in 1925. The character Townsend, 41, mentions how he stays in shape by tennis, polo and never touching 'beer, bread or potatoes'. I might have a look at some of the older exercise and diet regimes and see if there are any things we may think are the latest when really we have merely forgotten about them. I'd still do the 5BX daily if it wasn't for the advice of my Osteopath. Cheers Perry

PS re the boring side... wear goggles and enjoy studying the different bikini styles. I work on form and focus on kick, stroke, breathing, turns, changing stroke etc. I also use the time to think of getting thin, how I used to be so much fitter, planning stories and articles, not drowning. I saw a You tube clip of that 'Are You Tough Enough For The SAS' show when they were doing the endurance swim. One bloke got out because he was bored. which is why he is a civvy on a reality tv show and not doing the real selection or even basic training. I was stunned at his excuse given the show he was involved in. He was fit enough, just 'bored'. A bit different to the poster who is just doing his regular workout. I never get bored training as my work is very sedentary and mentally taxing so the physical makes up.
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Re: Swimming As A Way Back To Fitness

Post  SMUDGEPARA on Mon Jan 31, 2011 7:49 am

If someone is bored doing the sf swimming test then they are definatly not working a 100% because they either be around it in a shot or hanging just trying to get around it. Swimming is great form of fitness and a lot of people knock it but trust me you work hard in pool you feel it. However i have done a lot swimming in sea and that is a totally different kettle of fish and ten times harder.
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Re: Swimming As A Way Back To Fitness

Post  Perry Gamsby on Thu Mar 03, 2011 6:11 am

Yesterday I swam 1.25km and the last five or so laps (50m) were non-stop. My fitness has improved and I can see three ribs, or at least 'glimmers' of ribs. Yet my weight is still up there. The good thing is I feel more fluid, supple , active and energetic. I plan to keep the 1.25km going for a couple of weeks then up it to 1.5km. I find one 50m lap in the outdoor pool seems longer than two 25m laps in the indoor heated pool. The indoor pool is pretty shallow whereas the deep end of the outdoor pool is over 2m. I wonder if there is a 'displacement' thing going on that creates more resistance? Any theories? Perry
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Re: Swimming As A Way Back To Fitness

Post  Peter on Sat Mar 05, 2011 2:25 am

I don't know aout the displacement theory Perry but would the temperature difference have an affect?
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Re: Swimming As A Way Back To Fitness

Post  Perry Gamsby on Sat Mar 05, 2011 5:36 am

According to Tom Clancy it does! (joke) I have felt the temp difference of a thermocline when scuba diving, an actual line through the water where the temp drops noticeably between your hand and wrist when you stretch out. Maybe it is more a psychological thing? I did try swimming to the half way mark in the outdoor 50m pool, then turning around and swimming back and that seemed easier. Cheers Perry
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Re: Swimming As A Way Back To Fitness

Post  Peter on Sat Mar 05, 2011 7:14 am

Right Perry, I got my geek on for ya and:

The theory goes that a swimmer creates two waves, a bow wave and a stern wave. Both of these waves bounce back at you and you must push through them when in shallow water but in deep water you have moved on before the wave has time to bounce back at you.

This seems to be why so many swimming records were broken at the Beijing Olympics, the pool there is 3m deep as opposed to the normal 2m pools used so there was less resistance from bow waves.

However, unless you are swimming at a world class level where 100ths of a second count over 50m you wouldn't notice the dfference.

This is obviously the complete opposite of what you felt so we must assume that your 2x25m feeling faster was physcological due to the time being broken into portions by the act of turning or there is something in what Tom Clancy says!

If you want to look further into this you need the August 2008 edition of "New Scientist" magazine to get the info.

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Re: Swimming As A Way Back To Fitness

Post  Perry Gamsby on Sat Mar 05, 2011 6:33 pm

First of all, thankyou for the info but I will have you know that I do swim at a world class level, for fat forty nine year olds anyway... ahem. We have a couple of former Chinese Olympic swimmers at my pool, one is very attractive if you are attracted to Wookie's and the other does very strange things like swim three strokes, stop, walk in a circle, swim three strokes, stop etc. We have an old bloke who is a lap walker and gets in the way, several people who swim one lap then get in the way and others who just get in the way. All part of my training to keep my temper under control I guess.

In the two months I have been swimming I have to say my flexibility and energy are up and I once again feel more confident about being able to defend myself. I figure I now have two, maybe three good hits left in me as opposed to the one I felt was all I had left before. For all the young'uns reading this, don't think it can't happen to you. I just woke up one morning and I was overweight and had a heart problem. Just like that, snuck up on me overnight. Honest. Stay active and keep fit and if you start now and do a little every day it is easier than having to get back into it after a few years off, believe me. Perry
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Re: Swimming As A Way Back To Fitness

Post  Steve bungle on Sat Mar 05, 2011 7:21 pm

I absolutely love swimming, a great way of keeping fit. When i suffered a back injury years ago (through power lifting) i was advised to swim as a form of rehabilitation, and it did help Very Happy . I don't get to swim much these days, but i tend to swim at a more relaxed pace for a longer period as opposed to going flat out.

My Dad was a very good competitive swimmer in his youth, very explosive in the water, But as he has got older, he's had problems with his shoulders which the doctor seems to think is "wear and tear" due to his past.
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Re: Swimming As A Way Back To Fitness

Post  Jagunco on Sun Mar 13, 2011 5:47 am

I love swiming. I used to try to do a mile and a couple of 1KM turns a week. Alas because of suffering from depression the other year I stopped everything and lost a lot of my fitness and drive. I was doing 1K swims for a bit and then I managed to bugger my shoulder playing 5aside at work and then when it got better bugger my other shoulder playing rugby, managed to get one swim in between.

I'm now threatening to go back to the baths and knock out a couple of K's
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Re: Swimming As A Way Back To Fitness

Post  Perry Gamsby on Sun Mar 13, 2011 5:58 am

Last wednesday I got my 1km down to 45 minutes from over an hour and on friday I just did half a km but the first 400m was non-stop. I've got another two weeks of using the outdoor 50m pool before they close it until September and it will be back with the idiots indoors. I think I can confidently say swimming has helped me get back into shape, improved my cardio fitness and overall energy levels. It has also helped a lot of my confidence return as before I had to seriously consider my limited physical ability. Now I still avoid drama but I do it because it is the sensible thing, not the necessary thing.
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Re: Swimming As A Way Back To Fitness

Post  Jagunco on Mon Mar 14, 2011 12:46 pm

lol the first time I went back to swimming I managed 6 egnths without stopping, I had aikido straight after and could barely move. I then went back later on and started adding more and more legnths on and was knocking out about a mile an hour in a 25m pool, I was cheating and pushing off the sides but it was a big effort and I knew I'd done it.

Since going back the last time I've not done a mile. I probably could if I pushed myself but still looking for that angry edge that I used to have, it seems to have dulled, I just get to about a K and then leave for a soak and a put the world to rights in the hot tub.

I'm even now preping a swimming bag though to have a crack tomorrow!!
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Re: Swimming As A Way Back To Fitness

Post  GOVINDA on Sat Oct 22, 2011 9:28 am

Hi, I was thinking of swimming as my routines etc are out the window, starting and stopping etc etc with no real continuity, anyhows tell me this, I can run all day but when it comes to swimming I'm done after 2 lenghts, do I keep at it or is there something I'm doing wrong, thanks in advance Very Happy
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Re: Swimming As A Way Back To Fitness

Post  Socrates on Sat Oct 22, 2011 10:05 am

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Re: Swimming As A Way Back To Fitness

Post  GOVINDA on Sat Oct 22, 2011 10:18 am

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