Swimming is one of the best exercises for the body and mind. It is also a great way to relax and unwind. Its low impact is perfect for everybody. Despite the benefits of swimming, there are many misconceptions out there. Many people believe that you just can’t get a very good workout in the water while others swear you have to wait an hour after eating to swim.
Common Swimming Myths: Fact or Fiction?
The good news is that many of those things are true. Here are some of the most common swimming misconceptions. Learn what is fact and what is fiction so you don’t let myths keep you from diving into your pool!
1.) You only get to use your pool when the weather is good: FALSE
Bad weather can certainly limit your pool time, but it doesn’t have to. There are plenty of simple ways to extend your pool season into cooler months. You can use a solar cover to lock in heat and keep the water warm or buy a pool heat pump.
2.) Heating a pool is expensive: FALSE
You’ll be surprised how affordable this is. While heating a pool may not be what some call cheap, it’s not the extravagant expense that people mistake it for either. Most popular pool heating options these days are designed for energy efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Solar pool heaters can help warm up your water at a relatively low cost. You just need the sun to be out. Pool heat pumps are a little more expensive but still affordable between $50-$150.
3.) Pool maintenance is hard work: FALSE
Maintaining a pool and keeping it clean does require effort, but it doesn’t have to be hard. Consistency is important and will pay off. If you clean and balance your pool each week, then the odds of having to deal with those several hour-long jobs you fear are slim to none. Ideally, you want to skim your pool at least twice a week, brush and vacuum at least once a week, and test and balance your water at least twice a week. If you keep your pool covered whenever you aren’t using it, you’ll be able to keep it cleaner and reduce your workload. It is also possible to clean your pool with pool automation. Everything from robotic pool vacuums to automatic skimmers and chlorinators exists to make your life easier as a pool owner.
4.) Installing a pool is expensive and complicated: FALSE
This may have been true a few decades ago, but, pool builders and manufacturers have since wisened up. They understand that most people who want pools aren’t necessarily ready to drop a large sum of money all at once. In response, most reputable pool builders offer financing programs that make it much more affordable. If you want a pool but aren’t ready to drop thousands there inflatable and metal framed pools you can try. They are much cheaper than permanent pools, yet offer almost all the same features.
5.) Swimming pools add value to your home: TRUE
There’s no denying that pools add a special kind of flair to any home. And that’s largely because pools represent quiet, peaceful, aquatic retreats just step from your living room. They are also a convenient place to cool off during hot summer weather, and the perfect spot for family get-togethers and BBQs. If this is not appealing enough, there’s also the benefit of monetary gain. When you install a permanent pool in your backyard, the value of your home increases. Hence why houses with pools always cost a bit more.
6.) A clear pool is a healthy pool: FALSE
This is one of the most misleading swimming pool myths in existence. While a clear looking pool is typically a sign of a healthy pool, it doesn’t mean that it’s clean. It’s more often deceptive because even when your water looks like glass, there’s plenty that can be happening on a microscopic level. A seemingly clean pool could have water that’s way out of balance, leading to more contaminants. And just because you can’t see them doesn’t mean they’re not there. This is why weekly testing and balancing is so important.
7.) Chlorine is bad for your health: FALSE
Did you know there is chlorine in your tap water? The same water you bathe in, drink, and likely use for cooking. In small amounts, chlorine is beneficial, and aids in sanitizing your water. It kills germs and prevents harmful pathogens from getting into your body and making you sick. That said, with chlorine, moderation is everything. It is safe to add to your water in the correct amounts. For instance, most tap water contains chlorine levels of around 2-4 parts per million, which are scientifically proven to be safe levels for human consumption.
8.) Chlorine turns your hair green: FALSE
It’s not chlorine that turns your hair green. It’s copper. Copper sulfate is a chemical that exists in your water and aids in preventing algae growth. Prolonged exposure to it can cause hair to begin taking on a green tint. A simple solution to this is to always wash your hair after swimming in the pool to rinse out any lingering chemicals.
9.) Chlorine irritates your eyes if you open them underwater: FALSE
It’s not the chlorine that causes eye irritation, but rather chloramines, the byproduct of what chlorine is defending you from. Chloramines are what’s leftover when the chlorine in your pool attacks and oxidizes contaminants. It is important to remember that the only time when chloramines are strong enough to cause irritation is actually when your chlorine is too low. So, having too little chlorine in your water is what irritates your eyes.
10.) The smell of chlorine means the pool is clean: FALSE
Being able to smell chlorine usually means that your pool needs more of it. That “chlorine smell” you’re referring to is the chloramines mentioned in the point above. If you’re smelling them, then it’s a red alert that your pool is in need of more chlorine to continue sanitizing effectively.
11.) Rainwater won’t affect your pool chemistry: FALSE
Rainwater directly affects your pool’s pH and alkalinity. Both of which also impact other chemicals, like chlorine. This is why you may notice that your pool water changes from crystal clear to cloudy and green after a rainstorm.
12.) Pool water loss & heat loss is caused by evaporation: TRUE
About 75% of the water loss your pool experiences is due to evaporation. The same goes for heat loss. By covering your swimming pool, you not only reduce water loss but also improve heating efficiency significantly.
13.) You should shower before getting in the pool: TRUE
When you get into your pool without showering, you introduce a load of contaminants in the water, including sweat, natural body oils, cosmetics, and lotions. All of this gets mixed into the water and wreaks havoc on your chlorine and pH. And from there, your pool chemistry starts going downhill. These extra contaminants also make your sanitizer work overtime. And in the end, all that does is cost you more in chemical supplies.
14.) To avoid cramps, you have to wait one hour after eating before swimming: FALSE
Jumping around after eating might cause some indigestion, the claim that swimming on a full stomach gives you cramps is false. Cramps can happen at any time for a number of reasons, but getting in the water and wading around isn’t enough to trigger them. You will not have issues swimming after eating, so long as you don’t overexert yourself.
15.) Peeing in the pool is harmless: FALSE
As a one-time event, this is mostly harmless to the person doing the act, but the pool suffers. Urine is a contaminant, and it reacts to your pool chemicals by using up chlorine and dirtying your water. Large concentrations of urine in the water can quickly create a hazardous environment. So avoid letting anyone use your pool as a toilet if you want to keep it clean and healthy.
16.) Peeing in the pool turns urine blue: FALSE
This is easily the biggest swimming myth of all time. There is no such dye that turns pee blue in the pool. It’s just a folk tale used to scare kids from peeing in the water. But, since it does work, it might be worth keeping it alive!
17.) You can’t get a good workout is a pool: FALSE
Water workouts are low impact, which makes them easy on your body, but the low impact doesn’t equal low quality. Swimming is one of the best whole-body exercises around because you are using pretty much all of the major muscles in your arms and legs, as well as your hips, glutes, back, and abdominals. If you feel you are not getting a good workout, this could be because you are holding your breath. You should be breathing every other stroke, or about as often as you would be during walking or running.
18.) Swimming won’t lead to weight loss: FALSE
Some recreational swimmers are trim while others are not which has caused many to conclude swimming isn’t a very effective way to lose weight. When you look at elite swimmers, you’ll notice right away that they have very little body fat and a whole lot of muscle. Any activity that burns calories and helps your body create a calorie deficit can lead to weight loss. Swimming burns more calories than walking and almost as many as jogging.
19.) You don’t need to stay hydrated when swimming: FALSE
Just because you are in the water, doesn’t mean your body is getting hydrated. Any workout raises your body temperature and your body responds by sweating. You just don’t notice it in the pool, since the sweat is immediately washed away. Just as you would during any other workout, you need to stay hydrated, so be sure to drink water if your swim workout is less than an hour. If it will be over an hour, opt for an electrolyte-enhanced.