Guide to POTS

Hoping this makes a confusing chronic illness diagnosis easier

Swimming and POTS

Swimming exerts a lot of energy, and with POTS, it can take too much energy. Additionally, thermal regulation plays a role when entering a pool.

Always Swim with Someone

This is a good rule for everyone, but it’s doubly important for someone with POTS. I would never consider swimming alone, knowing how exhausting it is with POTS and how my energy can drain in a second.

Drink Plenty of Water

Before entering the pool, drink a whole glass of water, and every time you take a break, have another glass. Once you’re finally done, drink some more.

Rest Earlier than You Think and More Often

Your energy can drain in a minute, so make sure to rest before you become exhausted. If you push yourself too hard, you could end up in the middle of the pool, ocean, or pond, too tired to make it back. Taking frequent breaks can really help extend your swimming time. I try to swim for only 30 minutes before taking a break, and when I’m feeling sicker, I shorten that to 15 minutes.

Stay in the Shallow End

If you venture too far out into the pool, ocean, or pond, and suddenly feel exhausted and weak, it will be a struggle to return to safety. Stay in the shallow end until you’re confident about your strength and energy levels while swimming.

Do Not Go in the Hot Tub

Remember the issue of thermal regulation? You know how hot a hot tub is, right? Yeah, the hot tub will definitely increase your body temperature and probably dehydrate you. If you insist on going in, drink a ton of cold water beforehand, and when you get out, drink even more. Spraying your legs with cold water afterward can also help.

Plan to Relax After

You might feel really sick afterward, so plan to have some downtime, and maybe even take a nap. Avoid making big plans immediately after swimming. Make sure to relax, drink water, and perhaps have a snack. Keep in mind that you might not feel great the next day as well.

Further Reading

“How Exercise Helps Patients with POTS Syndrome.” MyHeart, Accessed 29 June 2023.

“Hydrotherapy.” It’s complicated, 3 October 2021, Accessed 29 June 2023.

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