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Thread: Swimming without other exercise?

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    Very Active Member ddl's Avatar
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    Swimming without other exercise?

    If I only swim but don't do any other exercises, what will I be missing? Not much, I suppose? I can still have a good physique and it sure does more to my health than if running is my only exercise? Comments?

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    Very Active Member Rykno's Avatar
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    Re: Swimming without other exercise?

    swimming alone didn't do it for me. but once I started biking 30-40 minutes a day, I got that little extra I needed to start losing weight.

    swimming is like any other exercise. after awhile your body will get use to the activity and adapt.

    when I was rowing, I had to row longer and longer to get the same effect. to the point that I had to row 7500m or 30 minutes, wher I started at just 10 minutes.

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    Very Active Member ViveBene's Avatar
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    Re: Swimming without other exercise?

    Swimming is good but is not a complete fitness regimen. For example, it is not weight-bearing, which both men and women need to be conscious of (and do something about) as they age to prevent bone loss.

    Many things complement swimming nicely. A step class, dance, running, hiking, backpacking, biking - a long list. At my age - late fifties - I consciously climb stairs instead of riding the elevator, and I do flexibility and mobility exercises.

    Quote Originally Posted by ddl View Post
    If I only swim but don't do any other exercises, what will I be missing? Not much, I suppose? I can still have a good physique and it sure does more to my health than if running is my only exercise? Comments?

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    Distance Man tjrpatt's Avatar
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    Re: Swimming without other exercise?

    I would add some weight lifting and some aerobic stuff like the bike, treadmill, etc. Just swimming is fine but it has to be intense to lose the weight. I would add other forms of exercise to confuse the body!

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    Re: Swimming without other exercise?

    I can say that swimming has done it for me...40lbs GONE! Of course that was with me adding intensity and duration over the course of a few months...now I am starting to do interval training three days a week which adds in the variation to keep my body guessing as they are different every time. I have about 15 lbs to go for my goal...and I would like to go down another 10 after that and I plan to do it all in the pool. My biggest issue is that I have had knee surgery for miniscus and I still have a partially torn ACL...so running makes me nervous.

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    Very Active Member aquageek's Avatar
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    Re: Swimming without other exercise?

    This is an interesting topic to me. I spent about 8 years doing nothing but swimming. During this time everything other than my swimming went to pot, agility, speed, coordination, etc. I also got fat, but hard to pin that on swimming versus the lard diet I was on at the time. I think doing a single sport in general is pretty pointless, not to mention boring.

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    Active Member alphadog's Avatar
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    Re: Swimming without other exercise?

    Hey DDL,

    I think this all depends on your goals and how patient you are. You can certainly lose weight and develop an improved physique swimming alone. For me at least, these things are greatly accelerated by a wieght lifting program I've done for years. (I took my body fat % from 16 to 12 in 6 weeks with a combination of 2-3 days of lifting and 3-4 days of swimming per week. I only lost 2lbs, so I built quite a bit of muscle.). A prudent lifting routine can help prevent injury by providing balance to the areas that might overdevelop through swimming alone. I also feel much stronger in the water when I lift.

    I strongly believe in shock value when you train, whatever your goals may be. This is easier to achieve if your workouts take place in two arenas (pool/gym or pool/bike) because you can lift heavy and swim aerobically on the same day even.

    Just my two-cents worth.

    Mike

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    sprint diva The Fortress's Avatar
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    Re: Swimming without other exercise?

    Quote Originally Posted by aquageek View Post
    This is an interesting topic to me. I spent about 8 years doing nothing but swimming. During this time everything other than my swimming went to pot, agility, speed, coordination, etc. I also got fat, but hard to pin that on swimming versus the lard diet I was on at the time. I think doing a single sport in general is pretty pointless, not to mention boring.
    Totally agree.

    Swimming makes me fat, no question. I've spoken to many other women who feel the same. I'm much bigger now as a swimmer than a runner. If all I did was swim and taper for meets, I'd truly be a tank (although perhaps I'd be a better swimmer). Cross training is the ticket to good health, endorphins and staying fresh. I prefer running, biking, weights, drylands, etc. Has to be weight bearing, and I like being outside. I'm in a snit this week not cross training as I rest my legs for Geek 9:27.

    Oh, I'm trying yoga this season too. Against my will ... I am required to take my daughter.

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    Very Active Member anita's Avatar
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    Re: Swimming without other exercise?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Fortress View Post
    Totally agree.

    Swimming makes me fat, no question. I've spoken to many other women who feel the same. I'm much bigger now as a swimmer than a runner.
    I must be in the minority, as I am the complete opposite. It obviously varies from person to person. I can drop weight, and keep it off swimming much faster than I can cross training--and cross training takes way more time than swimming does. It feels like I'm working harder cross training with little results than I am swimming with fast results.

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    Re: Swimming without other exercise?

    Quote Originally Posted by ViveBene View Post
    Swimming is good but is not a complete fitness regimen. For example, it is not weight-bearing, which both men and women need to be conscious of (and do something about) as they age to prevent bone loss.
    This is the most important point. Weight training is the best thing for bone density. Weight training also does much better than swimming at preventing the loss of muscle mass that comes with age. So, get in the weight room!

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    sprint diva The Fortress's Avatar
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    Re: Swimming without other exercise?

    Quote Originally Posted by anita View Post
    I must be in the minority, as I am the complete opposite. It obviously varies from person to person. I can drop weight, and keep it off swimming much faster than I can cross training--and cross training takes way more time than swimming does. It feels like I'm working harder cross training with little results than I am swimming with fast results.
    Interesting. Well, must be individual variation, as well as differences in age, body type, yardage. To be fair, I don't do a lot of yardage, which probably accounts for swimming being fairly inadequate for weight control. If I did 5000+ every day, perhaps I'd feel differently. But I'm not convinced.

    I likewise find swimming to be a huge time drain. I can walk out my door and run. With swimming, I have to drive to pool and swim longer to get the same bang for my buck.

    I agree with Jazz. Too many people don't lift at all, and have too little muscle as they age.
    Last edited by The Fortress; September 25th, 2008 at 03:22 PM.

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    Very Active Member ViveBene's Avatar
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    Re: Swimming without other exercise?

    Just to clarify, weight training is not the same thing as weight-bearing and can result in orthopedic problems of its own.

    Weight-bearing (from an online source):


    "Weight-bearing exercises, which have been shown to increase bone density, include walking, running, hiking, dancing, gymnastics, and soccer.
    • If you have osteoporosis, walk 30 to 40 minutes four to five times each week. Make it an aerobic activity—using a treadmill, stepper, or stairs—but avoid risky activities that could cause falls.
    • If you have osteopenia or normal bone density, any weight-bearing aerobic activity is fine. Do it 30 to 40 minutes four to five times each week."
    Quote Originally Posted by Jazz Hands View Post
    This is the most important point. Weight training is the best thing for bone density. Weight training also does much better than swimming at preventing the loss of muscle mass that comes with age. So, get in the weight room!

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    Very Active Member aquageek's Avatar
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    Re: Swimming without other exercise?

    Actually, during my 8 year hiatus from land-based activities where I became fat like Dom DeLouise I swam my arse off six days a week. I think you body adjusts to not bearing any weight and compensates by forcing you to eat more fried chicken and drink more beer.

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    sprint diva The Fortress's Avatar
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    Re: Swimming without other exercise?

    Quote Originally Posted by aquageek View Post
    Actually, during my 8 year hiatus from land-based activities where I became fat like Dom DeLouise I swam my arse off six days a week. I think you body adjusts to not bearing any weight and compensates by forcing you to eat more fried chicken and drink more beer.
    I'm glad you've given up lard and beer. It won't be so painful to see me drinking it on Saturday night.

    Yeah, based on personal observation, there are a lot more svelte tris, runners and cyclists than swimmers. When I get too fat, I'll become a tricked out, top of the line wetsuit, triathlete.

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    Very Active Member aztimm's Avatar
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    Re: Swimming without other exercise?

    I think it depends what your overall goals are. If you want to swim to get fast(er), for swimming in meets, etc...then swimming alone may be enough. I'm sure there's enough people who only swim and get by fine with that.

    That said, when I was just swimming, my weight eventually stagnated, then I slowly started to gain weight as I got older and my metabolism slowed. Since I've added in weights and running, my metabolism got kick-started, and I dropped a good deal of weight. I've gotten tons of comments on how I look, so I must be doing something right. That said, I'm not really faster in the pool, my times (practice) are similar to what they were. But my goals are more overall body condition and health.

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    Very Active Member elise526's Avatar
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    Re: Swimming without other exercise?

    Despite the bad rap that running gets (bangs the joints, etc.) there is something magical about it - when I run, my HDL goes up into the 70s. When I stopped doing triathlons and just swam, my diet actually improved, but my LDLs jumped to 150 and my HDL dropped to 57 (Strangely enough my triglycerides were only 33).

    My friend who is a doc thinks my LDLs may have jumped up because of a medicine I was taking for a medical condition. I got the horrible reading in mid-June and am due to go back in October to see if it has improved. I am no longer on the medicine and am now running in addition to swimming. I'm hopeful I will see an improvement in the cholesterol readings.

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    Very Active Member ddl's Avatar
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    Re: Swimming without other exercise?

    It's nice to hear so many opinions--thanks for your replies! I'm surprised so many people say swimming made them gain weight. How could that be? Maybe it was something else like eating habits that was the culprit? Actually I'm not using swimming to lose weight (I'm not overweight), but I want to have a more balanced and good-looking body shape and flexibility, and, of course, the health benefits from swimming. I especially like the body of a swimmer that is long and lean, unlike, say, a stocky weight lifter with thick arms and legs . Thanks for suggesting weight bearing exercises as a complement to swimming, which I agree is very important. I don't do such exercises on purpose, but I often walk out of necessity, perhaps that's not enough for lack of intensity...
    Last edited by ddl; September 25th, 2008 at 09:49 PM.

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    Very Active Member aquageek's Avatar
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    Re: Swimming without other exercise?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Fortress View Post
    I'm glad you've given up lard and beer.
    Only the lard was given-up.

    Ooh, let me be very clear, swimming didn't make me gain one ounce of weight. Had I not been swimming I might have fully blown up, liposuction style. I truly believe my weight gain was not due to swimming. But, I think I got in a rut by only swimming, which I came out of when I went back to doing a more well-rounded workout routine. I also think running is the magic wand to weight loss, just jiggles right off.

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    Re: Swimming without other exercise?

    Quote Originally Posted by ViveBene View Post
    Just to clarify, weight training is not the same thing as weight-bearing and can result in orthopedic problems of its own.

    Weight-bearing (from an online source):


    "Weight-bearing exercises, which have been shown to increase bone density, include walking, running, hiking, dancing, gymnastics, and soccer.
    • If you have osteoporosis, walk 30 to 40 minutes four to five times each week. Make it an aerobic activity—using a treadmill, stepper, or stairs—but avoid risky activities that could cause falls.
    • If you have osteopenia or normal bone density, any weight-bearing aerobic activity is fine. Do it 30 to 40 minutes four to five times each week."
    What orthopedic problems?

    Weight training is the best exercise for bone and muscle strength. It's easy to see why. The whole point of weight training is to carry as much weight as possible; it's the quintessential weight-bearing exercise. Running can have higher forces due to impact, but that same heavy repetitive impact causes other problems. Also, none of the activities you listed involve the upper body. I'm not an expert on this, but I would think that upper body bone density is desirable for preventing fractures.

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    Very Active Member RobbieD's Avatar
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    Re: Swimming without other exercise?

    For me it was swimming that started melting off the pounds. Every day this year I've walked or ridden my bike to work and as the year progressed I rode my bike more and and more each week. I lost nothing. Since I started swimming again I dropped around 20 pounds, fast. I think it's definitely important to cross train and I still do a lot of biking, but it was the swimming that actually triggered some weight loss for me.

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