PDA

View Full Version : Swimming performance and mild anemia



mpmartin
March 10th, 2014, 12:27 PM
Hope this doesn't sound too stupid a question, but I'm going to ask it anyway. I recently discovered I have some issues with anemia. Can this help account for my recent poor race performances?

SolarEnergy
March 11th, 2014, 11:30 AM
Hope this doesn't sound too stupid a question, but I'm going to ask it anyway. I recently discovered I have some issues with anemia. Can this help account for my recent poor race performances? Yes, without a doubt. I get one of these cases every year I'd say, off about 80 athletes. I'd even go as far as stating that if you sit close to the minimal values, this too might not be enough. Have you given blood lately?

jim thornton
March 11th, 2014, 11:25 PM
Do not be too quick to pathologize your condition. Some highly trained athletes develop so-called sports anemia, which is actually an indication of high fitness. Do you have a low resting heart beat? If so, you training may have increased your blood volume so you can circulate more blood with each beat. This increase is due to additional plasma. You still have normal red blood cells. Hemoglobin, etc. But it is diluted by the extra liquid. Good chance that your anemia is a pseudo anemia, not a disorder but a badge of being in superb cardiovascular shape.

JanSwim
March 12th, 2014, 08:56 AM
As a fellow anemic trying-hard-to-improve-my-swimming-speed, my advice is to do what you can to bring your numbers into normal range. You can workout and compete without doing that, but your endurance will suffer. And you'll be more tired (even exhausted) than you need to be. I agree with SolarEnergy: even if you're only slightly anemic, it can make a difference to your swimming.

On the flip side, my many years experiment being an average adult who didn't workout much or hard, showed me that being slightly (not extremely) anemic doesn't make much difference in day to day life. There is even research to suggest that it increases longevity.

Here's my background, in case it helps: I accidentally discovered I was anemic when I was a teen and many years into competitive swimming. It's hard to tell how much of my plateau at the time was that or just long term over training. Probably a combination. I know Jim's theory wasn't my cause because 30+ years later I have consistently returned to anemic or borderline anemic if I stop taking iron for a while. (Even with a relatively high iron diet and low physical activity - ie getting horribly out of shape didn't fix it.) Other than that I've always been really healthy. My theory now is that my anemia a genetic quirk, because it appears that one of my kids is the same way.

__steve__
March 12th, 2014, 11:00 AM
My wife was diagnosed with mild anemia, and it seems to have a powerful punch when it hits.

Her doctor suggested just to supplement her diet with a daily dose of iron, which helps to an extent