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CALGALFOX's Photo CALGALFOX Posts: 7,483
7/6/14 9:40 A

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Dani - I think you came to the right team! My husband was diagnosed with Spondylitis about 10 years ago. We do a lot of swimming, kayaking, backpacking, biking and walking. Swimming can certainly be a cornerstone to your cardio work outs. If you can afford a monitor, that will tell you how you're doing. By my second lap I can be in the zone and stay there for the whole work out, but it takes time and practice to get there. If you aren't feeling fit, try changing up your strokes and I agree that adding in HIIT work is helpful. I swim free and back, first about 45 minutes of free then alternating free/back and adding HIIT for the free and back for the recovery.

I broke my ankle in over twenty places years ago and so there are long periods of time that I can't run. It was interesting to me that when I went to do the C25K method to get back into running that I didn't need to do anything more than get out there and run. Swimming and biking kept me in such good shape that running 5k or 10k was nothing.

I'm going to throw one thing my husband learned early about his disease and that is that if he keeps his gut bacteria in good shape (taking probiotics), eats very limited carbs and almost no starch, that he has very little pain. We eat a diet rich in fresh fruits and veggies, no processed foods and he eats no dairy.

“Life is not a journey to the grave with intentions of arriving safely in a pretty well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out and loudly proclaiming ... WOW! What a ride!”
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MIAMIRN's Photo MIAMIRN Posts: 2,963
7/5/14 9:56 P

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I've have Spondylolisthesis L4-L5 and all my lumbar disks are bulging for approximately ten years. I just had a lumbar MRI so I don't know how much I've improved. It feels like I have. I do Tai Chi. It's a great martial art and has helped me heal. My MRI may show my disks have recessed. At least that's what I'm hoping. To make a long story short, at first I babied myself, stayed in bed a lot, gained a whole lot of weight and had a pain level of 8 most of the time. Needless to say, I was in crisis, but then I snapped out of it. I was so debilitated I couldn't do much. I started walking in the pool and it's been no turning back. You can lose plenty of weight swimming if you compete against your own time. Just be careful in the beginning. You can pull muscles. Be patient, take it slow and build up to optimum potential speed. Eventually, you can do HIITT with swimming. It's fabulously efficient in terms of burning energy. I would seek a personal trainer when you get stronger, that is, if you can.. Definitely, do Pilates. If you can get a doctors order for physical therapy/Pilates it will build your core well. Building your core is what is going to get your spine stabilized. Before you get your core stabilized you will be at risk for injuring your back when doing any exercise.. Swimming alone will not build your core. You can message me if you have questions. I'm a retired rehab RN and am a swim instructor. I might be able to answer some of your questions or at least give you some resources.

Good luck! emoticon emoticon

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GREBJACK's Photo GREBJACK Posts: 8,516
4/30/14 7:49 P

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My experience of the comparison between swimming and running is that both give me great cardiovascular fitness, but it's really hard to burn as many calories with a workout that is overwhelmingly upper body and core muscles as with running that uses your glutes and quads and hamstrings - some of the biggest hunks of meat in your body. Maybe if you're really missing the opportunity to stress your legs you can try bicycling? It's low impact, but maybe the positions won't serve you. Good luck!


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MSTIRES's Photo MSTIRES Posts: 632
4/28/14 6:33 P

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I agree with both Jon and Carol. I swim and run/walk. I'm not fast at either, but the HIIT in the pool helps with cardio. I do have to really make myself do HIIT in the pool as swimming comes easy to me and I'll swim at an easy pace forever, it left on my own.

I use the clock a lot more than when I first started swimming with a master's group. I've found this month it's really helped to keep my cardio up for running as I laid off of running for a month and have just started back, with out too much loss of cardio.

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CALGALFOX's Photo CALGALFOX Posts: 7,483
4/27/14 10:43 A

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First, welcome!

I agree with Jon. You could buy a cheap heart monitor and that would tell you what you need to know. I tell non-swimmers that swimming a mile is about the same as a 5k, two miles swim is equal to about an eight mile swim. I combine swimming with running, biking, hiking and kayaking. It's the center piece to my exercise regime and as long as you keep your pace up, it will definitely work for you. One other thing you might consider is adding HIIT work outs twice a week while swimming. Do a 25 length at 90% (like a shark is chasing you) and backstroke back at a decent pace, with just enough speed to not quite catch your breath. Do this at least five times or until failure. If you aren't failing (dropping to 70-80% on the 25), then you aren't swimming fast enough. Make sense?

This team is a great, supportive team. I am particularly supportive to your diagnosis because my husband also has that disease. He was diagnosed about 20 years ago now (wow...we're getting old). He has been able to control it with diet and yoga, but it definitely has taken the bend out of his back.

If you ever want to talk about his successes, I'm happy to share and I'm sorry about your diagnosis.

“Life is not a journey to the grave with intentions of arriving safely in a pretty well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out and loudly proclaiming ... WOW! What a ride!”
~Author Unknown

LMB-ESQ's Photo LMB-ESQ Posts: 12,245
4/27/14 7:38 A

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I'm not a runner, so I can't help you there.

But emoticon to the team!!

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4/27/14 4:07 A

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The workout from swimming will feel completely different from running. The buoyancy and cooling properties of water reduced my sustained heart rate by about 18%. 1.2 miles in 40 minutes a pretty good distance pace. I also swim due to an inability to run (ex-soccer with arthritic hip), that's about my pace and while I swim longer per it keeps me at or below my old playing weight. You might supplement swimming with some non-weightbearing exercise. Stationary bike perhaps? You would need to discuss that with your physician for riding positioning to minimize aggravating the existing condition.

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4/27/14 1:52 A

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Hi all,
I am now to this team. I have been a runner most of my life but since September last year I have been diagnosed with Spondylositesis on L5 to S1, so my doctor told me I have to cut on any type of high-impact sport and that I should swim instead.
So now here I am swimming 3 times a week (I am an early morning swimmer).
I cover about 2 k in 40-45 mins and I wonder if that's going to be enough for me to stay fit.
I used to run 10k before and I feel swimming does not get me the same cardio and workout I was getting from my run.
Any suggestions?


- Dani

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