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  #1  
Old 11-06-2010
al2eken al2eken is offline
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Default Questions on Breathing

I've read almost all of the threads on breathing, Freestyle, and most of the other categories. I'm 59yo, asthmatic, overweight, and a terrible swimmer. I bought my wife (a happy swimmer) a Fastlane Endless pool and I've got the book, the Easy Freestyle DVD, and now the O2 in H2O DVDs. I've been working at TI in the endless pool and making clear progress from wild flailing and kicking to a fairly quiet, splash-free, very relaxed "pre-whole stroke" using goggles and a snorkel. No problems with water up the nose, I can exhale either way, inhale comfortably, go a couple hundred strokes without getting winded using the snorkel.
Quoting from another post: "When you swim, try taking in a smaller amount of air so you won't over-inflate. Then work on getting rid of the excess CO2 by exhaling more. Ultimately you will relax into balanced breathing. (Or you will sink to the bottom and die..."

Here's my self-observation:
If I exhale just a calm, full exhale, I sink. I don't mean I'm an inch or two below the surface. I mean, if I exhale, whether in Superman glide, on my back, in Sweet-Spot position, or any other position, I sink right on down to the bottom. From a wonderfully relaxed back float it takes me about three to four seconds to be laying flat on the bottom of the pool looking up at a lazy trail of bubbles while I still exhale more.
If I exhale fully from Sweet-Spot, I have a split second before I'm several inches underwater.
If I exhale fully during whole stroke efforts my head will be nearly a foot underwater by the time my stroke arm is back. No panic here. Just quiet, calm bemusement as I turn my head to see the surface well above and moving away steadily.

So, short of never exhaling fully, how can I effectively get air-exchange? A few years ago I had my first really pleasurable swim in the Gulf where I actually could float.

Thoughts?
Thanks in advance,
Ken Fisher-Eastern Washington State
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  #2  
Old 11-08-2010
flppr flppr is offline
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From what I've read in other threads about breathing problems, it seems as though people either under-exhale or over-exhale, for the most part. I was an under-exhaler. In your post, you repeatedly state that you "exhale fully". Maybe you over-exhale? Are you familiar with the term "tidal volume"? Have you seen the graph here? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lung_volumes
I'm not a lung expert, but in my experience, the best breathing range to use when swimming comfortably is tidal volume.
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  #3  
Old 11-18-2010
al2eken al2eken is offline
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al2eken
Default Three short videos of me

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v= I float poorly.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K61I5LfalJw
When I roll to breathe, I'm well under the surface and lose momentum.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r_M13JMreZo
Using a snorkel in a Fastlane pool I can at least make an sinker's effort to start putting a Freestyle together.

Thoughts on all three invited and appreciated. I will cross post this in the Freestyle section as well.
Thanks,
Ken Fisher
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  #4  
Old 11-18-2010
terry terry is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by al2eken View Post
I'm 59yo, asthmatic, overweight, and a terrible swimmer. I bought my wife (a happy swimmer) a Fastlane Endless pool and I've got the book, the Easy Freestyle DVD, and now the O2 in H2O DVDs.
Ken
Welcome to the TI Forum. May I infer from information in your post that your main goal is to become healthier? If so, the combination of a TI EZ Free DVD and an EP is nearly ideal. Most of those who own EPs invested in them because they allow healthful exercise in the convenience of home. The drills on the TI DVD will give you guidance on ways to use your pool that are both healthful and purposeful. The drills offer movements that are
1) 'Sustainably-aerobic' - Because they offer the option for movement that is gentle, relatively leisurely, and rhythmic, even an unfit person can practice them for 25 or more minutes. Each practice session will bring you the ability to make future practices a bit longer. At the start, you should aim to finish each practice session feeling better than when you started and to avoid continuing to anything like exhaustion. Have a general goal of lengthening practices about 10 percent per week.
2) Focused on whole-body movement and larger muscle groups, rather than on more easily fatigued arm and leg muscles. In the early stages, you'll mainly use your arms to extend your body line and your legs to improve streamline, while learning to kick in a gentle, compact way.
3) Designed to create foundations for more advanced skills and movements. As your aerobic and muscular fitness increase and your primary skills improve, you will move naturally to drills that are more dynamic and require/develop higher skills.

The lesson sequence is designed to make this progression natural. Focus 90% of your attention on Lesson One until you no longer sense improvement in ease, comfort and self-perception. Dabble a bit in Lesson Two, gradually introducing new drills.

The main benefit of Lesson One practice is its narrow focus on Balance. As Balance skills develop, you should no longer experience the sinking sensation you describe.

Breathing is really a separate skill from Balance. It's also one which requires a fair degree of balance, comfort and self-awareness to succeed.

Therefore, for now, your best options during Balance practice are
1) Practice for brief duration. Stand and take a breather when needed, then resume practice. If your movements are gentle, you should be able to carry on without breathing for 8 to 10 or more seconds and need a relatively brief breather/recovery before resuming.
2) Use your snorkel to maintain longer-duration practice of a particular skill. The snorkel practice may be salutary for your asthma as I have heard it strengthens breathing muscles.

When doing #1, do nose-breathing. I.E. Exhale through the nose with small bubbles. Watch these in the bottom mirror (ignore the front mirror.) Nose breathing helps control HR. It also has an effect similar to the snorkel in strengthening breathing muscles. Finally it also contributes to a meditativeness that will benefit attention and accelerate learning and the development of self-perception.

The most important thing you can accomplish right now is to practice in ways that
1) make you feel good physically
2) engage your attention and improve your focus
3) create a sensation of the joy of graceful movement.

The most important health effect of your practice now is to transform physical activity from something you feel you should do, to something you love to do.

PS: Two other tools for self-improvement I recommend you consider would be the O2 in H2O DVD on breathing skills and the Self-Coached Workshop. Both will add considerably to your understanding of how to develop yourself as a swimmer and add considerably to your menu of options. The combined investment of $80 (if you order them together, your discount will reduce price to $70) will be quickly repaid with enhanced value from the far larger investment you've made in your Endless Pool, and in accelerating your ability to use swimming practice to improve your health.
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Terry Laughlin
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May your laps be as happy as mine.

My TI Story
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  #5  
Old 11-18-2010
terry terry is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by al2eken View Post
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r_M13JMreZo
Using a snorkel in a Fastlane pool I can at least make an sinker's effort to start putting a Freestyle together.
The first link was unavailable, but I saw enough on this link to give you guidance. The main reasons for any fatigue, breathlessness or tendency to sink you may be experiencing are
1) a need or habit of overkicking
2) failure to extend your bodyline fully as you enter your arms.

Your Stroke Rate at this point is not-sustainable. Slowing your SR - and using that slower rate of turnover to fully extend your arms/bodyline - will improve balance and ease.

Superman Glide and SG-to-Skate (Lesson 2 on Self-Coached Workshop) will help both.
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Terry Laughlin
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May your laps be as happy as mine.

My TI Story
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