View Full Version : How Do You Stay Healthy?

September 20th, 2012, 11:23 PM
I am new to distance swimming and I absolutely love it!!! My fear is injury and not being able to train at a high level. So my question, for allthe experienced distance swimmers, how do you take care of your body to prevent injury? Supplements, additional training, therapies, etc.

September 21st, 2012, 12:24 PM
I swim three times a week (1 distance, 1 pacing, 1 interval).

To me, the biggest health issue with swimming is shoulder health.

I do some shoulder stretches after each swim. I do some exercises, then the stretch set some time between swims.

The exercises and stretches I do were recommended for me by a physical therapist.

Professionals tell me that I need more stretches than most people. Also, A physiatrist MD of good repute told me the best PT I ever had tends to be heavy on stretches.

So, not only YMMV, but it probably will. (YMPWV ??)

I've been impressed with this video - which recommends pretty much what I do, plus a surprising (to me) number of core exercises. I've added two core exercises to my routine.

Prevention of Shoulder Injuries in Aquatics Sports - YouTube

FINA should give me some kind of award for flogging this video.

September 21st, 2012, 02:49 PM
Pilates, by which I mean serious work on core, shoulders, and hips. By improving my joint stability, Pilates has helped me overcome serious neck and shoulder problems that interfered not just with swimming but with ordinary activities like carrying my purse, sitting up, and sleeping. It's also made me swim faster because I can hold my torso steady while I pull rather than wiggling around. If you've never done it before I recommend personal training at first if you can afford it, so that you learn how to access the small and deep muscles that are the exercise targets rather than simulating the movement using big muscles and thus missing the point.

Many people recommend yoga for similar reasons. I have never tried any kind of yoga so I have no personal experience from which to compare it with Pilates.

Regular deep tissue massages from a massage therapist who works with and understands athletes. Massage helped me most in fixing a chronic elbow problem.

Something weight-bearing, even if it's just walking around a few times a week. Osteoporosis will interfere with other aspects of your life before it interferes with your swimming, but why risk it?

I don't take any special nutritional "supplements," but I adopted a pretty low-carbohydrate diet at the beginning of this year and it is working very well for me.

September 21st, 2012, 02:55 PM
I alternate swimming with other activities like running, weights, biking, cardio machines. This offers mental variety, builds strength, and mostly gives my shoulders a rest. I prefer swimming, but I find I do get some shoulder soreness if I primarily just swim.

Kevin in MD
September 21st, 2012, 03:13 PM
I do a few things intentionally that may not be the best for speed but I do them to help with my longevity.

1. My extension is lower in the water than the textbook would say. At full extension from my shoulder joint to hand is a downward angle rather than straight out. How much, hard to say but definitely downward a bit.

2. I don't worry very much about early vertical forearm after earlier experiments took me out of the water with biceps tendonitis.

3. My pull is on the wide side, don't have a good explanation for this one other than the fact that when I have a biceps tendonitis flare up, this helps. So I adopted it full time.

September 23rd, 2012, 07:40 PM
Thanks for the responses. My chirporactor had mentioned doing exercises to strengthen the rotator cuff muscles, but he didn't elaborate. I had seen on the should injury forum a link that appeared to be very helpful to solve that problem. I am very interested in the Pilates and Yoga aspect, so thank you for those suggestions!!! While sad I swim at a gym pool, at least they offer these classes :) so I will checking their class schedule next!!!

September 25th, 2012, 03:47 PM
Listen to your body. Rest when your body is telling you to. Many ignore pain, then get into trouble down the road.

October 5th, 2012, 01:43 PM
This has been a good thread... nice to hear so many different perspectives on being in it for the long haul. The issue of technique, which I don't think I've come close to mastering fully, is really important. As Kevin mentioned, you make small adjustments here and there to compensate for this or that pain. If something hurts... check technique. And what generates speed for the sprinter is not necessarily what is going to carry you through 5K or 10K.

October 5th, 2012, 02:29 PM
There are some good & basic 'injury prevention' stretch cord exercises in Dave Salo's great book -- Complete Conditioning for Swimming (Complete Conditioning for Sports Series): David Salo,Scott Riewald: 9780736072427: Amazon.com: Books -- that I like to do (though, truth be told, not as often as I probably should).

October 10th, 2012, 04:53 PM
3 days swimming
3 days at the gym
1 day off from all