The Importance Of Exercise In Swimmers

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Swimmers are known for their ‘healthy’ appetites. Both Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte claim to consume around 10 000 calories a day (Singh, 2015). Swimmers, and athletes in general, need more food than the average person. Thus, swimmers commonly ask the questions, “How much should I eat?”, “What should I eat?” and “Should I use supplements?”. There are no ‘one-size-fits-all’ answers to these questions, as they all depend on how often one exercises, and how strenuous that exercise is.

One’s total energy expenditure is as important in planning one’s diet as one’s one rep and heart rate maximums are in planning a periodization programme. One’s total energy expenditure can be calculated by determining one’s basal metabolic rate and adding it
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First, when you exercise, you sweat, however when you are in the water you do not realize that you are still sweating, losing fluid. Second, because you are surrounded by water, your brain is tricked to think you have all the fluid you need, and does not signal your mouth and throat to be thirsty (Teller, 2011). Dehydration can contribute significantly to fatigue and can be detrimental to swimming performance, however, on top of this it can adversely effect focus, technique skills, judgment and decision making (Teller, 2011). In aerobic athletes as little as 2.5% body weight loss due to dehydration can result in a 45% decrease in exercise performance (Schwartz, 2015). Dehydration can easily be prevented through drinking. When not working out swimmers must make sure to constantly drink water. Eating ‘liquidy’ foods such as soups or cereals with milk can help too. However, workouts that last longer than 90 minutes warrant the use of sports drinks (Anon., 2010). Swimmers shouldn’t experience dehydration severe enough to require anything other than some sports drink or water as treatment, and thus they shouldn’t suffer from any of the symptoms associated with severe dehydration. To diagnose dehydration a swimmer should weigh his or herself before and after training, and rehydrate according to the amount of weight lost (Teller, 2011). Another way to assess hydration status is to observe the color of your urine (Schwartz, 2015). Clear to pale yellow urine indicate you are hydrated, while cloudy yellow urine indicates you are dehydrated, and your body needs water (McGuire,

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