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World's slowest swimmer- will it make a difference?

(14 Posts)
MrsTatum1980 Sun 10-Jan-16 19:30:49

I'm part sloth but wanted to start exercising. I hate running/ jogging and once did a 10k, after swearing the whole way around the course, I swore I'd never run again... Several additional stone later, I've sadly kept that promise.
So I'm thinking of starting to swim two nights a week. However, will it help my fitness levels and weight loss? I ask, as I am the slowest swimmer known to man! I can do a sort of front crawl but after one length I'm left gasping for breath and knackered. When I do my breast stroke/doggy paddle I can do more lengths but Jesus, I'm slow! Octogenarians overtake and I'm conscious of how slow I am. So, any tips? Will it help? Should I consider another exercise instead? Or if I persevere, will I get quicker? Also, due to how slow I am, I don't do many lengths. Does a little help and is it worth it?

EsmesBees Sun 10-Jan-16 19:35:02

Swimming is a great exercise. I started a few years ago and was very slow. I took some lessons (free at my local council pool) to sort my technique out and practiced and have got pretty fast. There are plans on line for improving your swimming speed and stamina. If I remember correctly the guardian had a series of articles with tips and plans a couple of years back.

WickedWax Sun 10-Jan-16 19:39:30

At first I'd concentrate on getting your heart rate up for a certain length of time, rather than worrying about how fast you are and how much distance you cover.

MrsTatum1980 Sun 10-Jan-16 19:39:36

Ooh thank you! I'll have a Google. Can I ask, how many lengths did you do at first? I'm terrible at sticking at things and have never enjoyed swimming but, it fits in well with being able to do late on after DC are in bed and something I can do alone so I want to try it again. I'm worried if I only manage a small amount of lengths I'll feel silly and give up.

MrsTatum1980 Sun 10-Jan-16 19:40:11

Sorry X post. So less length but as quick as possible would best?

WickedWax Sun 10-Jan-16 19:44:05

Start off with say, 15 minutes of swimming, where you're not going like a bat out of hell and gasping for breath, but you are working, you do feel like you're doing something, and your heart rate is increased.

EsmesBees Sun 10-Jan-16 19:44:30

I can't remember but it wasn't many! I concentrated on bringing down my number of strokes per length and the time it took to swim a length at the start. I still have no idea how many I swim. I just go up and down for half an hour! I think the plan I followed was similar to the ones that teach beginners to run. So warm up, swim a couple of lengths, rest, swim a few more, rest again etc. And then the next week the resting time comes down by 10 seconds.

MrsTatum1980 Sun 10-Jan-16 19:51:18

Tuesday is DDay then! I'll just have to make sure I don't get in to my pjs as soon as I leave work as that is fatal for me!
Thank you for the advice! Im hoping I can grow to enjoy it as in theory it will help me tone up, give me so 'me' time and help me sleep but I have the will power of a gnat and find it so hard to leave the house when I'm knackered! The lure of the tv is too strong blush

CMOTDibbler Sun 10-Jan-16 20:00:24

Just keep going - do a length of front crawl, then a length of breaststroke and repeat. Really concentrate on your technique (loads of youtube vids, especially Swim Smooth) and weirdly make sure you breathe out properly as that can contribute to feeling breathless in front crawl.

I could only splash 5m in front crawl when I started swimming properly. Now I do 2km in an hour and it feels great

MrsMook Sun 10-Jan-16 21:56:17

There's a scheme called swimfit with something like 50 cards of different workouts that may be appropriate for building up a progression.

Swimming is very much about technique, so lessons may make a significant difference to your efficiency. In my late teens I went to adult classes as I could only swim a width and was exhausted. My stroke was hopelessly inefficient. After a couple of months of sorting it out, I was building up the lengths by the week.

Whatever the pace, swimming is great whole body activity.

Polyannatunnel Sun 10-Jan-16 22:01:39

I strongly recommend buying a pull buoy and use this and take the kick out of your session. It allows you to swim further and really focus on your stroke without struggling for breath.

Oldisthenewblack Mon 11-Jan-16 20:32:17

If you're gasping for breath, then you're working out! Which means that your body is working hard and therefore you will get fitter if you keep it up. As with anything, as you get fitter, you'll be able to do more/go faster. Do learn about technique, as has been suggested as that may help. The breathing too.

Good luck.

Mermaid36 Mon 11-Jan-16 20:41:59

I only learned to swim front crawl a couple of years ago. I was a good breast stroke swimmer before that, but my crawl was all splashy and breathless.
I took adult swimming lessons (1hr a week for 10 weeks) and at the end of it managed a 2 mile outdoor swim in less than 1hr 15 mins.

The thing most people do with crawl is to go off hell for leather, and don't breathe properly. Means that you end up knackered at the end of 1 or 2 lengths.

Ideally, you need to be breathing every 3 strokes (I do every 5 for anything over a mile) on alternate sides. The trick is actually to breathe out and empty your lungs on the 2 strokes you are not breathing for.

Google Swim Smooth for good tips and training ideas.

(P.S. I've gone on to crack a 25min outdoor mile and a 20 min indoor mile; and done several competitive outdoor swims without a wetsuit!)

MrsTatum1980 Mon 11-Jan-16 20:46:56

Thanks everyone! I've done some googling and still motivated to get my backside to the pool tomorrow and give it my best shot. Lots of helpful advice which I do appreciate. I'll be repeating the mantra 'do not get in pjs, must go swimming' tomorrow!

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