Posted by: Blob | 2007/12/04

To swim or not to swim, that is the Q.

Hi all,

I hope you can help me; I’m male 6ft3 and weight over 130kg. I also suffer from asthma. I would like to know if there would be any advantage to me starting swimming for a few weeks/months and then going over to cycling. If so how often would you suggest I swim and for minimum how long? Is there also a maximum that I can swim for or is that at my own discretion?

I look forward to any advice.


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Our expert says:
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Hi Blob

Absolutely, there's no reason whatsoever to suggest that you should not swim. In fact, swimming is the activity most favoured and recommended for asthmatics, because of the regular breathing patterns it creates. So it's probably the best one. It's also non-weight bearing, which reduces the risk of injury to begin with.

Having said all this, there is also no reason why you cannot cycle at the start as well. It's not as though doing a combination of cycling and swimming will be bad for you. So perhaps for variety, you might consider doing swimming say 3 times a week, and cycling once or twice a week. Then, after a while, depending on what you enjoy and where you find the most success, you can change this pattern. You might end up just swimming, or just cycling, who knows?

Your goal is probably to swim or cycle (or both) for about 45 minutes, 4 or 5 times a week. You probably would not start off there though - build up from maybe 15 or 20 minutes, and take about a month or 6 weeks to get yourself to this point.

There is certainly a maximum - you can become injured through the use of joints and muscles that your body previously never needed to use! In swimming, you'll probably find that your shoulders will become very tired, maybe sore initially, and for cycling, it happens with the knee. But as long as you are moderate to start with, stick to short sessions, and take a day off between training, then your body will soon adapt and you'll be able to increase this time and get to 45 minutes.

lastly, remember diet - all the exercise in the world won't help if you are not eating well too, so i suggest getting in touch with a dietician and getting yourself onto a decent eating programme.

Good luck

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