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Any fit people out there, I have a question about swimming!

(27 Posts)
HonoriaGlossop Tue 14-Aug-07 13:44:02

The reason I ask is because I am finally feeling well again; I've had an underactive thyroid diagnosed, and after ages of testing, raising dose, testing, raising dose, etc I finally actually feel I have a little bit of spare capacity for the first time in ages - well, since ds was born five YEARS ago

My question for you fit mumsnetters is, I have very limited time for exercising as my life is basically drop ds at school, work, pick ds up from school, do dinner, bedtime, try to get on top of housework and laundry, etc. So it's evenings when I'll have to snatch some time to exercise. Because time is so precious to me I really do not want to be doing stuff I don't enjoy (I honestly would rather gnaw my own limbs off than do aerobics style classes, and going to the gym to get on machines I find utterly stultifying) so I want to go swimming.

However I really want what I do to make a difference, get me fit and help me lose a bit of weight; will swimming on it's own help me do this or must I really face the gym? I think what I'm asking is what exercise do I do to get good results as soon as possible?

Please say swimming. Go on.

Scoobi6 Tue 14-Aug-07 13:48:30

Swimming seems to be pretty good according to this list: http://www.thefitmap.com/women/features/calorie_counter.htm I always find even a gentle swim leaves me starving hungry if that's any indication, and it is low impact too

NKF Tue 14-Aug-07 13:50:10

Swimming is brilliant exercise. Good for lung capacity, weight loss and relaxation. It doesn't give you that gym toned body though. Also, you have to really swim to get a result. Ladies who bob gently up and down nattering to each other are not going to get really good benefits. Not saying that's you of course.

PestoMonster Tue 14-Aug-07 13:50:59

Well, I'd say if you swam 2/3 times a week you would certainly notice the difference. But you ought to build up the number of lengths you do without stopping, and maybe do different strokes to make it more interesting. I do this during the term-time when dds are at school. However, I have slacked off a bit during the holidays and I will notice the difference when I next swim. (ie that I am not quite as fit)

Sheherazadethegoat Tue 14-Aug-07 13:51:01

if you are a great swimmer with a great technique go swimming if not don't bother.

any aerobic exercise will improve fitness, energy and help you loss weight. i think running is the bees knees cos it takes so little time - just out teh door and back in 30 mins or so - and you lose weight.

good luck

PersonalClown Tue 14-Aug-07 13:51:44

Swimming is great! It strengthens your core muscles by having to support yourself in the water, great cardio with the breathing and as Scoobi6 is low impact.
You must get a decent speed going though. No leisurely swims for you!

babygrand Tue 14-Aug-07 13:52:13

Swimming is great - but try to vary the strokes and maybe sometimes use a float so that you use just your arms/just your legs.

whoops Tue 14-Aug-07 13:52:14

Swimming can help, I was doing nothing but swimming for a while along side doing weightwatchers but it isn't the fastest way of doing it.
I don't like doing classes but do use the treadmill for at least 30 mins how about going for a walk in the evening? I do that if I can't be bothered to drive to the gym and it is a nice evening

zippitippitoes Tue 14-Aug-07 13:53:19

I go to the gym and then swim..it is better if you swim energetically but i don't I swim mindlessly up nd down for a mile..it makes me feel good and definitely helps with weight loss and arm and shoulder muscles in my case

HonoriaGlossop Tue 14-Aug-07 13:59:05

oh thanks everyone, that was quick!

Ok so the concensus is that it's pretty good. I hear what you're saying about doing it properly though; I have seen the head bobbing 'chatters' who go up and down at snailspace and who don't get even one hair wet

Rest assured that isn't me. I think part of the reason I want to swim is that I can DO it, iyswim. I swam really well in the distant past (god I feel old) and I used to swim a mile each time. I think it will take about a hundred years to get there again, but we'll see.

Varying strokes is a good idea, thanks for that.

Perhaps I ought to sign up to swim a mile for charity!

MrsMar Tue 14-Aug-07 14:02:17

I agree with NKF... you've got to move to get the benefit, you need to essentially be out of breath when you stop, a bit like if you'd been on a treadmill or in a class. I used to swim a lot (been winding down for a few weeks as I'm 35w pg) and I used to do 100 lengths of a 25m pool in an hour. That's about the speed you need to go, faster if you can manage it. Obviously you won't be able to go that fast at first, but you can build it up pretty quickly. Swimming is great for you as it's low impact, you get lovely toned legs and great arms (fantastic for summer!) nothing it too muscly which you can get by going bonkers in a gym.

Lots of people think it's boring but I loved my hour in the pool, totally switching off and thinking.

If you're not confident of your technique I would try a few lessons to refine technique. I learnt proper front crawl (face in the water, proper breathing) and it made a world of difference, as did learning proper back stroke. I would also invest in a good set of goggles and my favourite toy is an underwater mp3 player!!! I also bought some training mitts for my arms to work them a bit more, and some pool fins for working my legs a bit harder.

The key is to keep things varied, I used to alternate strokes every ten lengths, and do ten lengths with the fins, ten with the mitts, then ten arms only (cross your legs behind you) and ten with legs only (using a float to stablilise your arms)

Good luck and enjoy!

MrsMar Tue 14-Aug-07 14:04:21

Sorry, it took me so long to type my rambling post you'd xposted!! If you're a good swimmer you'll definitely see some real improvement pretty quickly!

NKF Tue 14-Aug-07 14:06:08

There's a fun and challenging programme called zero to a mile in six weeks. I used it once. It's in American so you have to convert yards to metres and you end up doing odd amounts (eg 43 lengths). But it kept me focussed. Just google zero to a mile and it will come up.

HonoriaGlossop Tue 14-Aug-07 14:08:33

oh my goodness mrsmar that's so helpful, thanks. I am loving the underwater MP3!

I know what you mean; I am looking back YEARS now but when I did alot of swimming, I did find that I zoned out and relaxed while going up and down and it was great. I am lucky in that my brother was a fitness instructor and he gave me some very good lessons on technique, I am pretty confident with that and I know just how much the 'proper' breathing etc can help specially with front crawl.

I will use your 100 lengths in an hour as my target. Though I won't promise to update you when I get to it as I fear if you wait by your PC for that to happen you will resemble Miss Havisham with the cobwebs and all

HonoriaGlossop Tue 14-Aug-07 14:09:02

perfect for me, thanks NKF

HonoriaGlossop Tue 14-Aug-07 14:10:37

oh, oh and I even used to do tumble turns at the end of each length! It's all coming back to me now.

Trouble is for the last five years each time I've been in a pool it's armed with ds, balls, floats, rubber rings; I shall have to stop myself taking all that stuff in to an adult session

FloriaTosca Tue 14-Aug-07 14:19:26

I got fit and lost weight 7 yrs ago by swimming (and diet of course) I had been a good swimmer in my youth but hadnt done anything for years...the first time I only managed to do 20 lengths in an hour (2 at a time breast stroke) but went every weekday morning and within 6 weeks was doing 64 (a mile).Over the next 6 weeks I started speeding up by doing freestyle every 10th length, then every 5th and eventually every other length ...but I will admit that when it came to losing the last stone (5th!) I needed to join the gym for the extra calorie burn off (but at least I looked relatively toned when I went in!)..and actually got to enjoy that too.
I'm currently 32 wks pregnant so all of that, (and the weight!) apart from the odd float around and aquanatal class has gone out of the window....but I'll be back asap!
Enjoy!

MrsMar Tue 14-Aug-07 14:59:49

Tumbleturns? that's pretty impressive.. Mine are so bad (I've never been taught properly, just made it up really) that I have to go to a pool that's really deep just to have the room to do the turn ! Mind you, it does make a difference, it's too easy to stop and have a breather if you're not doing them! I'm quite envious actually, can't wait to get back in the pool... our local pool won't take children in the creche until 6 months. I'll have to rope in some lunchtime baby sitting from my mum!

aloha Tue 14-Aug-07 15:04:51

I don't think swimming really helps you lose weight on its own. It can reshape your body though.

HonoriaGlossop Tue 14-Aug-07 15:33:15

Thanks all. I know what you mean Aloha, I do intend to combine it with an extra-healthy diet as well in order to shift some weight. To be honest some of the weight is coming off as a result of (FINALLY) appearing to be on the right dose of the thyroid medication, so it's not so much the weight loss I'm obsessing about, more the fitness levels. It's so NICE to finally be feeling a bit of energy back that I just want to capitalise on it, and the weight can take care of itself.

I will look forward to it re-shaping my body though; hopefully I will emerge from the pool a few inches taller as well

Quattrocento Tue 14-Aug-07 15:52:29

Honoria, would you mind telling me how you discovered you had an underactive thyroid?

Just that I had a few energy issues over the last year and a chum just dropped into the conversation that I should get my thyroid checked.

aloha Tue 14-Aug-07 15:55:18

Slim swimmers have great bodies - narrow hips, wide shoulders, toned arms and legs.
Any gp can send you for a basic blood test to check your thyroid function. Anyone presenting with tiredness, weight gain and depression (or any of the three really, if no other obvious explanation) should be offered a thyroid function test.
My mother had a VERY underactive thyroid - but she never really put on weight. However, she did start having falls, was forgetful, couldn't make decisions and was depressed. I believe thyroxine literally saved her life.

fishie Tue 14-Aug-07 15:57:17

actually honoria i am usually a bit taller after my dip. agree with 100 lengths an hour target, i do it all backstroke cannot do front crawl breathing properly any more. at first it is good to set a minimum amount, say 20. then try to increase number of visits, then increase no of lengths etc. i aim for 200 a week.

Quattrocento Tue 14-Aug-07 16:04:23

Thanks Aloha.

HonoriaGlossop Tue 14-Aug-07 16:06:53

Quattro, I knew it was a possibility because both my mum and my maternal aunt have underactive thyroids. Also I work in mental health and I know that people who are admitted to hospital with severe depression, are often tested for underactive thyroid because it can affect you in that way.

Personally with me, it was the level of exhaustion, weight gain (or more accurately keeping on of too much weight after having ds)skin becoming very dry, and just going down with one virus after another.

Get yours checked, it is a very simple blood test and as I'm discovering once the dose gets to the right level it is quite lift changing.

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