Friday, September 07, 2007

How O2 is Good for You

This past weekend, I took my family tubing down a rocky stream in the Smokie Mountains. Being a former lifeguard (and a dad), I tried to keep my eyes on the younger, less strong swimmers in our group. But as fortune would have it, I was the one tossed from my tube and thrown along the rocky bottom. Besides bruising my forearm, my torso slammed a well rounded rock. I didn't realize the problem until bed time when I felt pressure on my lower right lung. Things got worse as the week progressed and I was nearly doubled over by mid-week after doing a bunch of fairly aggressive flip turns. The painful sensation brought back memories of pleurisy which I experienced back in 1995 after a bought with the flu. Apparently the blow to my chest aggravated the lining on my lung. While it's quite painful, but I'm confident it will heal as it did more than a decade ago. Harking back on those flu days, I remember being short of breath - a sensation I'm not experiencing this time, thank God - and strangely mystified at the effect the loss of oxygen was having on my ill, but still youthful body. Time healed things and since then, I've built up my lung capacity significantly. I find that swimming has increased my ability to hold a lot of air and more efficiently process oxygen. Like many of the people I swim with, I can attest to the great feeling the body has when it has a lot of oxygen pumping through it, after a good workout. The body's cells get a surge of oxygen, giving your whole body a fulfilling feeling, almost like having eaten a good meal. If you haven't ever experienced this surge, keep up your workouts and build up the time in the pool (check with your doctor first). You'll be amazed at the natural high you can get from simple oxygen.

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