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Swimming!!

Posted by R C on 10/14/02 at 21:34 (097502)

I started swimming for exercise last May. At that time I had completed a successful treatment for PF (cast/crutches/physical therapy). But I had elected to give up running because I felt that the risk of re-injury outweighed the benefit. Let me reflect on my experience.

Since I had never swum before (except for compulsory gym class), I was really lacking in technique. I started doing only forward and supine sculls, one length at a time. I got some tips from the nice people at the pool, plus I got two excellent books. The one by Jane Katz starts at the most rudimentary level and proceeds through the stroke techniques and gives sample workouts. Phillip Whitten's book focuses on the main competitive strokes, but also gives very interesting (even inspiring) sections on swimming's effects on health and longevity. Now I am able to do all the main strokes except the butterfly, and usually can get in 1500 meters in the morning before I have to go to the office.

If I may brag on my improved vital signs. First and foremost I lost the 18 pounds I put on from being inactive for 2 years (PF was my excuse, but I guess it didn't have to be). Then I lost a few more, and added some muscle mass -- now my body fat percentage stands at 9%, which is not bad for a middle aged guy. Heart rate at rest is 48 b.p.m., blood pressure is 118/74. Didn't do anything to reverse the baldness, though.

Anyone who wants an alternative to running, I heartily recommend swimming.
If you want a second opinion, see Whitten's book.

Jane Katz, ' Swimming for Total Fitness,' Doubleday (1992).
Phillip Whitten, 'The Complete Book of Swimming', Random House (1994).

Re: Swimming!!

dave r on 10/15/02 at 07:51 (097512)

When swimming can regrow hair i am in

Re: Swimming!!

Julie on 10/15/02 at 09:25 (097522)

RC, I'm very impressed with your having learned all your stroke techniques from books! And I'm glad you continue to promote swimming here: it's my favourite exercise too and always has been, the ideal cardiovascular, all-over, non-weight bearing workout. Keep on talking about it - it will inspire at least some running addicts to switch for their feet's sake, if nothing else.

Re: Swimming!!

john h on 10/15/02 at 09:50 (097527)

dave r I am with you buddy on tha hair and swiming thing.

Re: Swimming!!

pala on 10/15/02 at 11:01 (097537)

thanks. i'm swimming now too. i'll check out these books since i just sort of flop around without much idea how to get a good workout. do you use a jogging belt and ankle weights in the pool?

Re: Swimming!!

pala on 10/15/02 at 11:14 (097538)

swimmin made my hair turn green. so even if you guys don't have much hair you might get a distinctive look. the martian effect.

Re: Swimming!!

Leon S. on 10/15/02 at 14:53 (097549)

It also gets the sand out from your toes!!

Re: Swimming!!

Necee on 10/16/02 at 23:26 (097704)

Swimming is a great way to exercise, or should I say...really the only way to exercise. You are using just about every muscle in your body, getting a great cardiovascular workout, and not putting your feet through any unnessary stress. When you consider the pounding our feet take while jogging, or doing arobics, even riding a bike puts stress on the feet and ankles, then swimming is by far the best way to workout.

Happy trails....

Necee

Re: Swimming!!

R C on 10/17/02 at 22:10 (097782)

Well said. Let me also point you to U.S. Masters Swimming, an organization that promotes lifelong swimming activities and has local clubs all over the country (it is also international). The local groups typically have regular workouts under the guidance of a coach. Typically there are meets at every level, inwhich events are segregated by age group(e.g., 30 to 34). Many members compete, but most are fitness swimmers. Thelocal thing i belong to has a workout MWF for an hour (plus I swim 5 days a week). The average age I would guess is 50. There are a couple guys in their 20s, plus some ladies who might be in their 80s -- their fitness level puts us to shame! They're all very nice, very helpful, and familiar with the notion of runners having to turn to swimming after a bad injury.Their web site is http://www.usms.org . It costs not much to join (I think all national and local fees were something like$75 in my case). For ex-runners wanting to find a replacement 'community', this is a good candidate. There's also golf, but that is more like a religion (non-aerobic, too).

Re: Swimming!!

pala on 10/18/02 at 10:06 (097804)

i congratulate you for finding a fun and positive way to carry on. i swim every day, i love it. my favourite stretch for back of leg, hips, hamstrings is i sit on a swim noodle and scissor my legs back and forth. i do this while reading a book! i can keep this up forever. it feels good to me. i do it very very gently but repeatedly. i look weirdly insane while doing this i suppose, but i'm used to that.

Re: Paula, what is a swim noodle, please?

Julie on 10/18/02 at 11:37 (097810)

.

Re: Paula, what is a swim noodle, please?

pala on 10/18/02 at 17:22 (097831)

not sure what it's formal name is. it's a long thin floating foam sort of thing that sells in drug stores for a few bucks

Re: Swimming!!

Sandy H. on 10/18/02 at 22:35 (097847)

Total Immersion by Terry Laughlin is a good book. I managed to have PF, hamstring and shoulder impingement all that the same time to ensure I couldn't do any exercise but this book shows you how to swim with your hips to take strain off your shoulders. Very good.

Re: Paula, what is a swim noodle, please?

Julie on 10/19/02 at 01:00 (097855)

Thanks, Paula. I love the name! and it sounds like fun.

Re: Swimming!!

Catherine on 10/30/02 at 20:59 (098729)

I enjoyed this line of posts the most... as I work as a Manager/Supervisor of a large Aquatic Facility!! I understand where each of you is coming from. Believe me I see all sorts of swimming strokes. Whenever I get in the pool to swim myself I feel like a celebrity(sp?) because all my regulars go 'look at her ... she can actually swim!' and they watch me swim to get pointers.

I have been suffering from Planter Fasciitis for a bit over two years now, but have never really gone for treatment.

I have learned so much tonight on the internet.

I will do a seperate post with all my questions

Thanks
Catherine

Re: Swimming!!

dave r on 10/15/02 at 07:51 (097512)

When swimming can regrow hair i am in

Re: Swimming!!

Julie on 10/15/02 at 09:25 (097522)

RC, I'm very impressed with your having learned all your stroke techniques from books! And I'm glad you continue to promote swimming here: it's my favourite exercise too and always has been, the ideal cardiovascular, all-over, non-weight bearing workout. Keep on talking about it - it will inspire at least some running addicts to switch for their feet's sake, if nothing else.

Re: Swimming!!

john h on 10/15/02 at 09:50 (097527)

dave r I am with you buddy on tha hair and swiming thing.

Re: Swimming!!

pala on 10/15/02 at 11:01 (097537)

thanks. i'm swimming now too. i'll check out these books since i just sort of flop around without much idea how to get a good workout. do you use a jogging belt and ankle weights in the pool?

Re: Swimming!!

pala on 10/15/02 at 11:14 (097538)

swimmin made my hair turn green. so even if you guys don't have much hair you might get a distinctive look. the martian effect.

Re: Swimming!!

Leon S. on 10/15/02 at 14:53 (097549)

It also gets the sand out from your toes!!

Re: Swimming!!

Necee on 10/16/02 at 23:26 (097704)

Swimming is a great way to exercise, or should I say...really the only way to exercise. You are using just about every muscle in your body, getting a great cardiovascular workout, and not putting your feet through any unnessary stress. When you consider the pounding our feet take while jogging, or doing arobics, even riding a bike puts stress on the feet and ankles, then swimming is by far the best way to workout.

Happy trails....

Necee

Re: Swimming!!

R C on 10/17/02 at 22:10 (097782)

Well said. Let me also point you to U.S. Masters Swimming, an organization that promotes lifelong swimming activities and has local clubs all over the country (it is also international). The local groups typically have regular workouts under the guidance of a coach. Typically there are meets at every level, inwhich events are segregated by age group(e.g., 30 to 34). Many members compete, but most are fitness swimmers. Thelocal thing i belong to has a workout MWF for an hour (plus I swim 5 days a week). The average age I would guess is 50. There are a couple guys in their 20s, plus some ladies who might be in their 80s -- their fitness level puts us to shame! They're all very nice, very helpful, and familiar with the notion of runners having to turn to swimming after a bad injury.Their web site is http://www.usms.org . It costs not much to join (I think all national and local fees were something like$75 in my case). For ex-runners wanting to find a replacement 'community', this is a good candidate. There's also golf, but that is more like a religion (non-aerobic, too).

Re: Swimming!!

pala on 10/18/02 at 10:06 (097804)

i congratulate you for finding a fun and positive way to carry on. i swim every day, i love it. my favourite stretch for back of leg, hips, hamstrings is i sit on a swim noodle and scissor my legs back and forth. i do this while reading a book! i can keep this up forever. it feels good to me. i do it very very gently but repeatedly. i look weirdly insane while doing this i suppose, but i'm used to that.

Re: Paula, what is a swim noodle, please?

Julie on 10/18/02 at 11:37 (097810)

.

Re: Paula, what is a swim noodle, please?

pala on 10/18/02 at 17:22 (097831)

not sure what it's formal name is. it's a long thin floating foam sort of thing that sells in drug stores for a few bucks

Re: Swimming!!

Sandy H. on 10/18/02 at 22:35 (097847)

Total Immersion by Terry Laughlin is a good book. I managed to have PF, hamstring and shoulder impingement all that the same time to ensure I couldn't do any exercise but this book shows you how to swim with your hips to take strain off your shoulders. Very good.

Re: Paula, what is a swim noodle, please?

Julie on 10/19/02 at 01:00 (097855)

Thanks, Paula. I love the name! and it sounds like fun.

Re: Swimming!!

Catherine on 10/30/02 at 20:59 (098729)

I enjoyed this line of posts the most... as I work as a Manager/Supervisor of a large Aquatic Facility!! I understand where each of you is coming from. Believe me I see all sorts of swimming strokes. Whenever I get in the pool to swim myself I feel like a celebrity(sp?) because all my regulars go 'look at her ... she can actually swim!' and they watch me swim to get pointers.

I have been suffering from Planter Fasciitis for a bit over two years now, but have never really gone for treatment.

I have learned so much tonight on the internet.

I will do a seperate post with all my questions

Thanks
Catherine