Swimming laps

Hi all.  I am a 63 year old woman 2 years in with my pacer and all is great and I hike, bike, gym workouts, etc.  But until now I haven't been swimming.  First of all I'm in Pittsburgh and outdoor swimming is best in the summer and no indoor pools close by, secondly it was suggested that some strokes should not be considered due to pull on and potential breaking of the leads.  It was stated that particularly breast and butterfly strokes could be harmful but freestyle too.  I could live without the butterfuly but the others are fairly integral if I want to do laps.  And I do.  I had 3rd degee A/V block, have a three lead St. Jude non defib, and it is a bit loose under the skin pocket but no problems other than it stands on end sometimes.  Can I hear some experience on swimming from other pacer folks please?  Thank you.  Happy Summer. 


I don't do swimming

by Theknotguy - 2019-06-28 16:06:53

I don't do swimming, but I do volunteer at a furniture bank making furniture for indigent families.  I'm on the cut crew and move a lot of wood while we're cutting parts.  The 4x8 sheets are 55 pounds and I'm always moving smaller amounts at 20 to 30 pounds a pop.  Lots of arm movement, stretching, and so forth.  No problems.  

The only person with whom I've talked who had problems with the leads was one of our security officers who was doing heavy weight lifting after he had his pacemaker.  He was intentionally working on extreme weights and he did break a lead.  But that's the only person of whom I've heard who had problems with a lead.  

You've had your pacemaker for 2 years so the leads should be firmly in place.  Unless you're planning on training for the Olympics I don't feel you'll be subjecting the leads to enough stress to break them.  Even if you do the breast stroke and the butterfly stroke I don't feel you'll be putting enough stress on the leads to cause any damage.  

The main point is to keep moving.  Every little bit of exercise helps.  

Hope everything else is going well for you.  

Most EPs aren't swim coaches....

by crustyg - 2019-06-29 13:38:08

I'm 5.5 weeks post implant and my EP (at 4 weeks) wasn't keen on my restarting swimming f/crawl, but he gave in.  He thought breast stroke was better/safer!  My R hip doesn't like breast stroke (my natural stroke), but Pilates fixed that.  2 years in, you should be able to do all four strokes - but if you've been off swimming for that time, you'll want to go slowly, of course. Butterfly is pretty tough on neck and shoulders, but your leads should be well fixed by now.  If your box slides around in the pocket, that may be uncomfortable.

Try the f/c and breast and back stroke, and if the box/pocket hurts or the box slides around too much see if you can get it re-fixed.  There should be a really strong, non-absorbable stitch holding the box down to the base of the pocket.  I wonder if your stitch has snapped.


by novak263 - 2019-06-30 10:44:02

I was never told not to swim. I have had my PM about three years now and I swim all the time. Just freestyle but I've never had any problems. I was told I should have free range of motion. Granted i don't do any competitive swimming. I just do a slow freestyle and I never even thought about it until I saw your post. I don't want to tell you to do something that you shouldn't do. But for me, as I said, I have swam dozens of times since my PM and never had an issue of any kind.

Keep Swimming..

by iany - 2019-07-06 22:58:59

Hi Moglow, Have copied below my comment to a post on swimming back in February, 2017. I'm now aged 67, had the PM for almost 3 years, and have never had a problem swimming (and butterfly is my best stroke!)

After a 4 week  recovery period I had essentially no restrictions. I was permitted to start using my left arm after 4 weeks and  progressively increased duration and intensity of my training  sessions over the next few weeks (back to my normal 4-4.5 km per session). I was back doing butterfly after 6 weeks (the riskiest of strokes with a PM), did my first open water swim race after 9 weeks and my first pool competition after 11 weeks (and set an Australian National record in the 400m Free in my age group). So  I have been pushing it hard! I have had no issue with the leads (obviously); with a bedside "Communicator"  I would know immediately if there was a problem. There was some impingement of the PM initially (more so with my golf swing) but only for a short period.  Had some adjustments made to the rate resonse settings (accelerometer and minute ventilator) after 8 weeks which has improved response

So..... keep swimming


Yes, Keep Swimming

by randall - 2019-10-30 17:37:46

I'm age 78 and have been competing in Masters swimming for 12 years.

I was sixth in the 2008 Nationals in butterfly stroke. I had to quit at age 72. I couldn't "pull" the water any more.

I still do the breast stroke and I'm traing for the 2020 Nationals in San Antonio next year.




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