Swimming with aortic aneurysm / heart issues - Safe water temperature?

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Gordo60

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Apr 3, 2019
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Australia (Sunshine Coast)
Hi gang,

I really enjoy stationary (tethered) swimming in our home pool. However as winter approaches even in our relatively warm climate the water becomes cold. Pool Heating is too costly for us. I prefer not to wear a wetsuit until the water gets below around 20 - 22C. Even then I only like wearing a shorty wetsuit (2mm max) that doesn’t restrict swimming mobility.

I’ve read at times that those with heart problems should avoid cold water as it can cause a rapid increase in heart rate and blood pressure etc. This article suggests surprisingly that those with heart issues should restrict swimming to very mild temperatures of 26 - 33C😨:
You should only swim in water with a temperature between 26–33C (79–91F) as this will have the least effect on your heart. Most public swimming pools are regulated at 29C, which is 84F. Pools that are hotter than 33C may cause your blood pressure to drop, making you lightheaded or faint. Being in colder water may provoke irregular heart rhythms.

I’m sure views will vary depending on location. As @pellicle would know in our climate many would regard water temperature below 25C as freezing🥶😁.

Thoughts please anyone?
 

pellicle

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Nov 4, 2012
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Queensland, Australia
...
I’ve read at times that those with heart problems should avoid cold water as it can cause a rapid increase in heart rate and blood pressure etc. This article suggests surprisingly that those with heart issues should restrict swimming to very mild temperatures of 26 - 33C😨:

...
Thoughts please anyone?
well my view has always been to "see how I feel myself" which means understanding my condition and how I feel about my response. I'll also start by sounding out my Dr (in the past that was my surgeon, but now that's more likely to be my cardiologist about the idea (with whom I have a great relationship and after exchanging data we normally talk about other stuff because we both feel we're both on the same page)).

I'm not sufficiently across your specific conditions to make any more of an informed suggestion, but my feeling is that if it doesn't feel bad it probably isn't. (or were you looking for a reason to not do the swimming?)

I view it like this:
 

Gordo60

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Well I swam this afternoon. The temperature gauge show 25C water, 20C air. Wimped out, on went the wetsuit vest. Oh well, I’m a born and bred Queenslander. No need to inflict the discomfort of cold water on oneself if not required.
 

Gordo60

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btw, this guy is Norwegian so similar to Finnish thinking
LOL. Now there’s an idea. Beats warming up on the bike trainer before hand.

I see you were in Prague a couple of years back. We lived there for two years due to my wife’s work. Alcohol, particularly beer, including when exercising regardless of temperature seemed to be mandatory. Although I never braved swimming in the cold waters there even with the support of alcohol 😁.

We lived next to Divoka Sharka forest reserve which I cycled through regularly. On weekends I used to go for full day strenuous bike rides with my neighbour there. There were Pivo (beer) vans strategically placed along the popular cycling trails. We stopped at them all. Lunch was accompanied with a few expresso’s and a few shots of Becherovka. Needless to say the ride home was challenging being inibriated and faced with lots of steep hills.

Prague a wonderful place but geez I drank way too much beer when living there. Being subsidised by the Gov’t It was much cheaper to drink beer rather than bottled water.

Didn’t know I had an aortic aneurysm back then. At a guess it was likely around 4 cm at that time. Oh well.
 

-andrew-

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Newcastle, UK
Hi Gordo60, I live in the UK and swim regularly in lakes and the North Sea - with a 3-4 mm wetsuit normally. Water temperatures at the start of the triathlon season are normally around 10C. Anything above about 16/17C would be a treat and would normally mean no wetsuit. I typically swim 1-2 times a week in open water (May to October) and have done so for the last 15 years. I've had valve replacements and an aortic aneurysm but have never been advised against open water swimming by my cardiologist. I've always paid close attention to how my body reacts to cold water and aim to get in slowly but then warm up with rigorous swimming ASAP to keep my core temperature up. Other techniques of staying warm in a wetsuit are probably unsuitable to share on this forum :)
 

tom in MO

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Jan 17, 2012
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MO USA
Hi gang,

I really enjoy stationary (tethered) swimming in our home pool. However as winter approaches even in our relatively warm climate the water becomes cold. Pool Heating is too costly for us. I prefer not to wear a wetsuit until the water gets below around 20 - 22C. Even then I only like wearing a shorty wetsuit (2mm max) that doesn’t restrict swimming mobility.

I’ve read at times that those with heart problems should avoid cold water as it can cause a rapid increase in heart rate and blood pressure etc. This article suggests surprisingly that those with heart issues should restrict swimming to very mild temperatures of 26 - 33C😨:


I’m sure views will vary depending on location. As @pellicle would know in our climate many would regard water temperature below 25C as freezing🥶😁.

Thoughts please anyone?
Sometimes people have to create "content" to fill a perceived void or to get paid. They may know some things, but overall not too much. They think too much, putting together potential scenarios that feel logical but have no basis in fact and are actually directly wrong. If swimming in cold water will kill you, then probably any shock to your system (e.g. daughter being pregnant) will as well :)

The lady who wrote the article is "physical activity specialist". Not sure what that is, but if its an RN, MD, DO, PhD, they could be just as wrong, but have some letters behind it... :)

One of the best logic breakers is: Who do you think has the most dangerous job in New York City?

Most would say policeman or fireman. But if you discount 911 as an anomaly, in normal days the most dangerous job in NYC is the garbage collector. However, there are no charities for garbage men.​
 

Gordo60

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Australia (Sunshine Coast)
Anything above about 16/17C would be a treat and would normally mean no wetsuit.
68B1F50F-FAAF-4DCE-97CD-0AF16AFC16E8.jpeg
If swimming in cold water will kill you, then probably any shock to your system (e.g. daughter being pregnant) will as well :)
See above.
I've always paid close attention to how my body reacts to cold water and aim to get in slowly but then warm up with rigorous swimming ASAP to keep my core temperature up.
Seems like a very sensible approach.

From further reading cold water shock is simply a flight/ flight response. Everyone’s reaction will be different and like all stress one can within limits condition themselves to this through gradual exposure.

Strategies I’ve seen in addition @-andrew- ’s great suggestion include:

1. Maintaining swimming as the cold season approaches so the body gets slowly conditioned to the decreasing temperatures.
2. Raise the core temperature of the body with some land based activity (eg cycling / jogging) prior to gradually entering the water.
3. Splash your face / neck with water before submerging face under water and be sure to blow out bubbles immediately.
4. When in doubt wear a wetsuit and cap(s)
 

nagyg

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Aug 12, 2016
Messages
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Location
new york
i find swimming in water above 25 C tiring. so I have been swimming in water between 21 - 23 C and find that very agreeable. In the winter I do 15 to 20 minutes on the elliptical before I go into the pool ...
 

vitdoc

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Apr 16, 2017
Messages
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Location
Southern Ca.
I have had an aortic heart valve placed at age 29. Replaced at 34. Then at age 59 replaced along with a new ascending aorta. Have been on Warfarin for 36 years. Have skied bicycled and did anything I wanted the whole time. I still ride bicycles at age 70. Worrying about the water temperature when swimming is silly. Don’t restrict yourself for absurd reasons . You only go around once.
 

Gordo60

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Apr 3, 2019
Messages
82
Location
Australia (Sunshine Coast)
Worrying about the water temperature when swimming is silly.
Thanks for that. I’ve come to that conclusion now. Research can be useful but some of the information out there would have those of us with valve / aneurysm issues living a very restricted lifestyle if we were to believe it.
i find swimming in water above 25 C tiring.
It has that effect on me when water is above 33C which our pool can get to in summer :).

Funny how different we are in what is perceived cold depending on what climate we live in and what we’re used to. I’m becoming a wimp. Our pool is around 24 - 25C now and I’ve been wearing my 2mm shorty wetsuit. Just right. Even after 30 minutes swimming I’m not too warm.

Perhaps this is what I should aspire to:

8E0A2D44-6999-4666-8202-EC9639D1B7D7.jpeg
 
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