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What A 2,000 Mile Swim Does To Your Body

Ross Edgley is in the middle of a very long-distance swim.

British athlete and fitness enthusiast Ross Edgley is currently on a mission to swim 2,000 miles around the coast of Great Britain. This means he is spending 12 hours a day in the cold water. He hoped to complete the swim in 100 days when he first left, but due to stormy weather and bad tides, he expects it to take 145 days. He swims two six-hour stints per day and returns to his support boat to sleep and eat in between.

“People have run around Great Britain, they’ve sailed around it, they’ve cycled around it, but no one has ever swam all the way around,” he said, according to Outside Online. 

A swim like this can take a serious toll on one’s body. Edgley said that some of the most painful effects of the swim have been to his skin. His tongue is swelling because it is covered in salt. Three weeks into the swim, Outside Online writes, he woke up to chunks of his tongue on his pillow. He has taken to rinsing with mouthwash and coating his mouth with a layer of coconut oil. He has experienced painful chafing from his wetsuit rubbing on the back of his neck. He runs the risk of sea ulcers, wounds that can take months to heal and only get deeper over time.

As for his heart: Maintaining a high heart rate over a long period of time can cause the blood-collecting chambers of the heart to stretch. Swimmers also put more pressure on their heart since the athlete is lying flat. Edgley has to constantly adapt his technique to move with the least possible effort. He also has to eat about 10,000 to 15,000 calories a day. He sleeps for about four hours a night and another three during the day.

Read the full story at Outside Online