Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Channeling My Inner Michael Phelps - Swimming

One exercise I have been overlooking for a while is swimming. I have not been in a pool to swim laps in many years. This is mostly because I did not have access to a pool for a few years and now that I do, the pool is a bit over crowded. I decided a few days ago to stop using that as an excuse and jump back in the pool to swim some laps. The main reason I am getting back into swimming is because I have been reading a lot of articles online that have been talking about thermodynamics in relation to weight loss.

Supposedly, and from what I am reading the science backs up the claims, if you spend time in a colder environment your body's natural desire to maintain your appropriate body temperature increases the number of calories you burn during your activity. I am completely serious, Google it! There are actually people that are talking ice baths now and going for "shiver walks". While I am not ready or willing to jump into a bath full of ice water for 15 minutes, I am willing to hop in a pool that is about 70 to 80 degrees and swim some laps.

A little while ago Michael Phelps came out with a claim that he eats some insane amount of calories a day while training for his swim competitions, I believe the number was around 12,000. Well, some people starting scratching their heads stating that the math isn't adding up. Some people calculated that if he spent 4 hours a day in a pool training that would only equate to the number of calories burnt while running a marathon, somewhere around 2,600 calories. 12,000 - 2,600 - your average daily expenditure does not add up! So how was he eating that much and still burning enough calories to stay thing?! Well, the simple answer that is being proposed is that while swimming in a pool for 4 hours a day he is forcing his body to work much harder to maintain that 98.6 body temperature.

This proposal seems to make perfect sense, so I figured why not?  I need to lose some pounds and I actually like to swim AND it would help me with my surfing.  So all that being said, I decided to give swimming another shot and bought me some swim goggles and ear plugs today.

I used to swim quite a bit about 6 years ago when I was a lifeguard.  I hope it doesn't take long for me to get the hang of it again.  No more excuses!  Time to go for a swim.


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