Publish 21 July 2022
By Kevin RR Williams
Think or Swim
Swimming is one of the best forms of cardiovascular and anti-aging exercise. The water is great for resistance training during rehabilitation. Swimming laps in a pool with a variety of strokes works nearly every muscle in your body. By controlling your breaths, you increase lung capacity.
With many benefits, doctors, physiotherapists, and fitness trainers recommend swimming to build strength and keep fit. Not knowing how to swim is a deterrent. But even those capable of swimming fail to comply. Motivation can dull from lack of a personal swimming pool.
Many people enjoy sitting poolside or frolicking in the shallow water at parties. An olympic-size pool at a park or gym conveys a different atmosphere. The massive size can be intimidating. It is possible to overthink it. Something else deters public pool use.
The Water is (Mostly) Fine
Despite posting signs that advise everyone to rinse off before entry, public pools are notoriously dirty. They contain trace amounts of bodily perspiration and other wastes.
The pool urinator is in the minority. But most people do not adequately clean their anal area. And those bubbles everyone laughs about discharge residual particulates.
Though not visible to the naked eye, the residue from hundreds of people each week adds up. Professional pool cleaners mix in powerful disinfectants on a regular basis. This gives off an acrid odor that differs from that of fresh stream water. The combination of chemicals and wastes irritate eyes, activate asthma, strip hair of moisture, and worse.
Each year, there are between 15 to 20 outbreaks of diseases in dirty public pools, including stomach bugs and diarrhea, according to the CDC. Improperly chlorinated water increases swimmers’ risk for chemically induced dermatitis, skin infections, and rashes. Practice good hygiene and be alert to signs of improperly maintained pools.
- Shower before going into a pool
- Listen for the sound of a working pool pump
- Make sure that the pool’s bottom is clearly visible
- Touch the pool tiles—they should feel smooth, not slimy
- Avoid swallowing pool water
- Take small children on frequent bathroom breaks
- Wash hands after going to the bathroom
For public pools or those in a gym, find out the pool cleaner schedule. Inquire when the pool is least busy and plan your visits with these two pieces of information in mind.
Put Water in Perspective
Most sports have an unpleasant side effect. Usually it is some type of physical injury. Swimming athletes consider bloodshot eyes a minor inconvenience. It beats carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow, and torn ligaments. Wearing swimming goggles reduces eye redness and improves underwater vision.
I like the analogy of one writer who compares public pools to hot dogs. Many people enjoy them but don’t like to think about what’s inside.
Thinking too much about the negative aspects of each sport can lead to inactivity. Concentrate on the positive benefits of swimming. Clean up well both prior to and after a pool workout.
You can enjoy resistance training in the shallow end of a pool without knowing how to swim. If you have your own pool, well, you have little excuse to avoid this recreation.
For more vigorous workouts, learn to swim laps. No mater how hard you workout, you wont sweat because the water cools your body. Alternate between the freestyle crawl, backstroke, breast stroke, butterfly and other swimming techniques.
In a short time, you will gain stronger core muscles and shoulders. By burning more calories than jogging, your toned physique will be the poolside envy of those sweating over what’s in the water.
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