Why does Swimming make you tired?

Swimming can be a great way to get some exercise in a less strenuous and more fun way. Some people find that swimming makes them feel more tired when they get out of the water. Continue reading to learn why you might feel a little tired after swimming. We also give you some tips on how to feel less tired after swimming.

Why does Swimming make you tired?

Swimming can be a great way to get some exercise in a less strenuous and more fun way. Some people find that swimming makes them feel more tired when they get out of the water. Continue reading to learn why you might feel a little tired after swimming. We also give you some tips on how to feel less tired after swimming.

Water temperature may make you tired

After much investigation, we discovered that one of the most persuasive ideas to explain this peculiar post-swim weariness was the physiological effect of water temperature on the body.

Due to the heat conduction nature of water, your body will lose heat significantly faster in a cold(er) pool than in similar-temperature air. 

You may recall learning about this phenomenon in 9th-grade physics: heat will always be transported from a hot surface area to a colder surface area. In this situation, from the surface of your skin to the chilly water.

Swimming in colder water temperatures (below 75°F/23°C, for example) causes your body’s core temperature to drop slightly. (An average body temperature is around 37°C). Also, your body will be using extra energy (on top of the energy already expended for swimming) to maintain that body temperature, which can result in more weariness than usual.

As you finish your swimming workout and exit, your body will begin to warm up and return to normal body temperature. Your body reacts to this warm-up process as it would to a warm drink or sitting beside a fire on a cold day, making you sleepy. Hence, in theory, it is not the cold water temperature that causes fatigue but rather the subsequent reheating process.

Swimmers, however, become more exhausted when swimming in warm water. Similarly, your body’s regulating systems will now expend fluids on cooling you down, which might contribute to dehydration; however, more on this later.

Overheating can also increase your metabolic and heart rates, contributing to the physiological effort required to keep your body cool and making you feel weary or sleepy.

What to do

In an ideal world, the best thing you can do is find a swimming pool with the optimum water temperature. This is approximately 78-80°F/ 25-26°C, which is suitable for exercise without becoming too chilly or hot.

Unfortunately, we do not live in an actual perfect environment, so if your pool temperature is warmer or colder, don’t be too concerned (unless it is extremely cold/warm). If it is warmer, drink plenty of water; if it is colder, attempt to speed up the warm-up process and increase blood flow after swimming.

This can be accomplished by engaging in mobility exercises such as foam rolling or yoga (which will only enhance your swimming) or by going for a brief 10- to 20-minute jog or cycle. Furthermore, if you need to do some strength exercises on a swimming day, you can do them directly after swimming.

Some people recommend taking a warm or cold shower afterwards. A warm shower can help to raise your core body temperature faster, whilst a cold shower will help to drop your body temperature if you are already warm- chilly showers also deliver a bit of a wake-up shock that should help shake off any sensation of lethargy.

Dehydration due to fatigue may make you tired

Many individuals are unaware that swimming causes the body to sweat significantly more than you might believe. Swimming does not produce the same amount of sweat as land-based sports such as jogging, but it does produce sweat, according to the Journal. The difference is that swimmers are less likely to detect sweating because the water quickly washes it away.

As previously indicated, training in warmer water increases your chances of becoming dehydrated since your body will sweat more than usual. Aside from dehydration, sweating can lead you to lose critical electrolytes and minerals necessary for optimal body function. A lack of a specific mineral can also cause fatigue.

Dehydration is one of the biggest reasons for weariness, according to WebMD. If you’re exhausted after a hard swim session, it’s possible that you haven’t had enough water and beverages.

Similarly, Healthline has discovered that vitamin/mineral deficiencies are a key cause of increased fatigue. Vitamin B12, D, iron, magnesium, and potassium are some vitamins that affect fatigue.

Furthermore, research has revealed that magnesium shortages are relatively frequent among athletes and that hard exercise (such as swimming) may necessitate a 10-20% increase in magnesium intake.

What to do

It is recommended that athletes drink half an ounce to an ounce of water for every pound of body weight per day. This means an athlete weighing 150 pounds should drink 75-150 ounces (2.21-4.43 litres) of water throughout the day.

It’s critical to identify what works best for you and to drink water throughout your workouts (even if you’re not thirsty) rather than just when you feel like it.

To avoid losing excessive amounts of minerals, vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes (which may cause additional weariness), drink a sports drink throughout your workouts, or supplement key minerals such as magnesium if you know you are deficient. (If you suspect you have a deficiency, please consult your local doctor).

Swimming is an excellent full-body resistance workout

The rigorous nature of the activity may be one of the more evident causes of the draining post-swim weariness. All of the muscular groups of your body will be used throughout the four basic swimming strokes: butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle. This includes the back, abdominals, chest, quads, hamstrings, and glutes.

Using all of these muscles at the same time will take a lot of energy. Furthermore, your body will have to heal after a hard workout. Unlike recovering from other workouts when you only engage in particular muscle groups, your body must repair all of its muscles, not just a few distinct muscle groups.

Furthermore, because water produces nearly 12 times air resistance, your body will be subjected to constant resistance when swimming. Yet, the buoyancy of water almost eliminates gravity’s effect on your joints, making the workout low-impact in terms of joint tension.

On the other hand, any movement stress is transferred to the muscles, making swimming both an aerobic and anaerobic workout that challenges all of the body’s varied energy systems and can rapidly exhaust you.

What to do

Making sure your body can recover properly will assist in reducing fatigue by getting your body back to normal as soon as possible. It is critical to ingest sufficient nutrients to sustain your exercise and recovery.

Consume all of the nutrients, including proteins, lipids, and carbs. Larger meals should be consumed 3-4 hours before swimming. Smaller meals should be eaten at least 30 minutes before diving into the pool.

Post-workout nutrition is just as crucial. When you reach home, make sure to have a well-balanced supper. Additional recuperation strategies include foam rolling, stretching, ice baths, enough sleep (8-10 hours), and naps (but make sure you can get up again after a brief snooze).

Exercise intensity has a different effect on energy levels than you might think. Workout intensity in swimming relates to how fast you swim than how far you swim. The same applies to weight lifting: intensity is generally defined as the amount of weight lifted rather than volume.

That may appear counterintuitive, but many swimmers feel more invigorated after a hard session than an easier one. Scientists refer to this impact as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, but most other exercise lovers refer to it simply as after-burn.

If you’ve had an after-burn, you may find it difficult to sleep the night after a strenuous workout or race, even if you’re physically exhausted. Afterburn symptoms normally last 30 minutes to 24 hours prior to your body returning to its normal resting state.

What to do: You can exploit this to your advantage. Schedule your high-intensity exercises in the mornings, consisting of sprints and race-pace intervals. This way, you can make the most of your heightened post-workout alertness. Endurance swim exercises are best suited for later evenings when you can go straight to bed.

The sun can make you tired or sleepy

Many people report feeling sleepy and exhausted after spending time in the sun, which appears to be true, according to Sleep.org. Despite some more obvious reasons, such as warmth and dehydration, sun exposure can produce chemical changes in the body that lead to exhaustion.

Yet, many swimmers swim most of the year inside and still have post-swim exhaustion and tiredness, indicating that this isn’t the fundamental cause of the problem. However, it may contribute to certain situations.

What to do

Those fortunate enough to train most of the year outdoors (like me) should try to arrange their swimming workouts earlier in the morning or later in the afternoon to avoid catching the sun directly overhead. Additionally, remember to use sunscreen!

Nutritional Timing May Influence Post-Swim Tiredness

We briefly mentioned nutrition previously, but since it’s one of the most crucial aspects of being a good swimmer, we’ll review it again and see how it can contribute to feeling sleepy after swimming.

I’ve seen this post-swim weariness more frequently when swimming in the mornings rather than afternoons. Swimming workouts are also commonly done early in the morning for many swimmers worldwide.

Many swimmers do not eat much before diving into the pool first thing in the morning. A swimming exercise followed by 8-10 hours of fasting will only leave you exhausted and depleted, setting you up for a post-workout crash.

What to do

We recommend getting in at least a few calories before jumping into the pool. It doesn’t have to be substantial; a modest granola dish with yogurt will suffice. The aim is to keep the meal as balanced as possible.

This means including a variety of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Having a high-carb breakfast will only make you weary and sleepy later in the day.

Regarding meal scheduling, smaller meals should be consumed 30-45 minutes before working out, while larger meals should be consumed at least 3 hours before your workout, enabling time for the food to begin digestion.

Caffeine is another nutritional beverage that, with the appropriate time and amount, can assist in boosting your energy levels quickly. But I do not recommend drinking coffee before going to the pool. But, a smaller coffee mixed with a light breakfast may suffice.

It is also crucial to remember that caffeine’s benefits wear off after a few hours, so you may experience a drop in energy levels. As a result, it is advisable to consume caffeine in smaller doses throughout the day rather than one large coffee, as this will set you up for an energy crash.

However, remember that your body will develop a tolerance to caffeine over time, so use it carefully when you need a boost to combat exhaustion after a hard swimming workout.

Final Words

Due to resistance, they were moving through water demands extra effort. Despite its buoyancy, water offers 12 times the resistance of air. Weight-bearing joints are less stressed by gravity’s pull thanks to the buoyancy of water. Swimming is aerobic and anaerobic exercise, which causes any movement-related stress to be transferred to the muscles. This exercise combination can be exhausting.

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