W3D3 – Aerobic

Swimming

45mins AsManyLapsAsPossible (AMLAP)

*stopping only to check HR every 5 laps

31 laps alternating between Freestyle (5 strokes 1 breath) and Breaststroke (5-3 strokes one breath)

HR: 160-180

Intensity: 70-80%

Great aerobic session done in a fasted state. Intensity was low enough to work on technique but still garner a good cardiovascular response.

Still learning how to tumble turn but getting the hang of it!

I find swimming to be one of the most effective ways of  burning fat or losing weight! Not counting the exercise alone, just being in the water where the water molecules are moving past every inch of your body ramps up your metabolism because you begin to lose heat rapidly. Physics will tell you that your heat lost to the water through convection is faster than that lost to the air when exercising on land. This could be one of the reasons why swimmers burn so much more calories than runners (think Michael Phelps and his 12,000 calorie diet! 😱).

Additionally, I find that swimming gives me much more ‘bang for my buck’ because it’s a more demanding way to train aerobically / anaerobically.

1.  You restrict the amount of oxygen going to your muscles so in a way, you are training your body to become more efficient at using the available oxygen, especially so when exercising. This also helps your body to tolerate higher levels of CO2 and lactic acid. However, you do not get the same adaptations as training in altitude simply because the concentration of oxygen in the air is the same even when holding your breath. So no EPO doping effects there 😦

Swimming: What is the difference between training in hypoxic air, like at altitude, and simply holding your breath in a pool?

2. It’s a great whole body workout because, depending on the style, you get to activate much more muscles as compared to running or cycling. That’s why I choose to alternate between freestyle and breaststroke. This way I hit both the Sagittal (forward & backward) and Frontal (side to side) motions and their respective muscles. (It’s pretty tough to run sideways like a crab or snake huh?)

3. It’s extremely low impact on your joints and bones. So it’s recommended for ppl who are overweight and want to start exercising and avoid injuries like plantar fasciitis. This could be caused by excessive pounding when your feet is not conditioned to the activity or your weight. Furthermore, people who have existing injuries like a slip disc can swim as a replacement for running as cardio. 

4. You get to work on flexibility/mobility too; ‘killing two birds with one stone’. Since I’ve started swimming 4 times a week, I realize my flexibility has improved without doing too much flexibility exercises or yoga. Having said that, it should be noted that I do dynamic stretching as warmup and take time to cool down with a full body stretch (yoga style w deep breathing). The stuffness in my spine has been reducing progressively; and my reach has improved significantly. 

Lastly, the only downsides I can think of for now are the sun and the high chlorine content of public pools. The sun is okay since I’m not spending hours everyday under an intense tropical sun and it helps me meet my daily vitamin D requirements. On the other hand, the chlorine gives me dry skin and hair, acne, red eyes and a sore throat. Furthermore, it puts me at a higher risk of premature aging and hair loss and has been linked to certain cancers such as bladder cancer. (yes it’s a carcinogen!)

The Dangers of Chlorinated Pools and How To Protect Yourself

Since I don’t have the luxury of going to a non-chlorinated pool like the Mineral Water Pool, I use certain precautions such as taking up to 4000mg of vitamin C on days when I swim as this increases the amount of antioxidants in your body that protect you from the adverse effects. Of course, my body needs enough fats in the first place for the antioxidants to protect the fats which are the first protective agents in my body. So yes, I eat the whole egg, yummy yolk and all. 🙂

How To Reduce The Risk From Swimming in Chlorinated Pools and Drinking Chlorinated Water.

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