While swimming in a pool offers numerous health benefits and an enjoyable experience, it is not without its disadvantages. This article examines the potential drawbacks of pool swimming to provide a balanced perspective on this popular activity.
From issues related to pool water quality and exposure to harmful chemicals to the risk of accidents and injuries, understanding these disadvantages can help swimmers and pool owners take necessary precautions and make informed decisions for a safer and more enjoyable pool experience.
Disadvantages of Swimming in the Pool
Swimming is a popular and beneficial activity that can improve your physical and mental health. However, swimming in the pool also has some disadvantages that you should be aware of before diving in. Here are some of the main drawbacks of swimming in the pool and how to address them.
Increased Risk of Infections
One of the disadvantages of swimming in the pool is that you may be exposed to various germs and chemicals that can cause infections or irritations. Some of the common infections that swimmers may get are:
- Swimmer’s ear: This is an infection of the outer ear canal that can cause pain, itching, swelling, and discharge. It is usually caused by bacteria or fungi that grow in the moist environment of the ear after swimming. To prevent swimmer’s ear, you should dry your ears thoroughly after swimming, avoid using cotton swabs or other objects to clean your ears, and wear earplugs if you are prone to this infection.
- Swimmer’s itch: This is a skin rash that can occur after swimming in freshwater pools or lakes that are contaminated with certain parasites. The parasites burrow into your skin and cause an allergic reaction that leads to red, itchy bumps. To prevent a swimmer’s itch, you should avoid swimming in areas where this infection is known to occur, rinse your skin with clean water after swimming, and apply anti-itch cream if needed.
- Eye infections: Swimming in chlorinated pools can irritate your eyes and make them red, dry, or blurry. This can also increase your risk of getting bacterial or viral infections such as conjunctivitis (pink eye). To prevent eye infections, you should wear swimming goggles to protect your eyes from chlorine and other irritants, avoid rubbing your eyes with dirty hands or towels, and wash your eyes with saline solution or artificial tears after swimming.
Dry or Damaged Skin and Hair
Another disadvantage of swimming in the pool is that it can dry out or damage your skin and hair. This is because chlorine and salt can strip away the natural oils and moisture from your skin and hair, leaving them brittle, dull, or discolored. To prevent dry or damaged skin and hair, you should:
- Shower before and after swimming to remove any dirt, sweat, or chlorine from your body.
- Apply moisturizer to your skin and conditioner to your hair after showering to restore hydration and shine.
- Use sunscreen to protect your skin from sunburn and premature aging.
- Wear a swimming cap to protect your hair from chlorine and salt.
- Avoid using harsh products such as bleach or dye on your hair if you swim frequently.
Increased Risk of Injuries
Swimming in the pool can also increase your risk of getting certain injuries due to repetitive movements or the impact of water on your body. Some of the common injuries that swimmers may suffer are:
- Shoulder injuries: These are the most common injuries among swimmers, especially those who perform strokes such as freestyle or backstroke. Shoulder injuries can include tendinitis, impingement, or rotator cuff tears. They are usually caused by overuse of the shoulder muscles and tendons, poor technique, or lack of rest. To prevent shoulder injuries, you should warm up properly before swimming, vary your strokes and intensity, improve your technique, strengthen your core and shoulder muscles, and rest when needed.
- Knee injuries: These are more common among breaststroke swimmers who use their knees extensively for kicking. Knee injuries can include sprains, strains, or ligament tears. They are usually caused by overuse of the knee joints and ligaments, poor technique, or lack of flexibility. To prevent knee injuries, you should warm up properly before swimming, avoid excessive kicking or twisting of the knees, improve your technique, stretch your legs and hips regularly, and rest when needed.
- Neck and back injuries: These can occur due to the strain on the neck and back muscles from holding your head up while swimming or from diving into shallow water. Neck and back injuries can include muscle spasms, strains, or disc herniation. They are usually caused by poor posture, poor technique, or lack of strength. To prevent neck and back injuries, you should warm up properly before swimming, keep your head in line with your spine while swimming, avoid diving into shallow water or hitting the bottom of the pool, improve your technique, strengthen your core and back muscles, and rest when needed.
Swimming in the pool can also lead to weight gain if you are not careful about your diet and exercise routine. This is because swimming in cold water can increase your appetite and make you eat more calories than you burn. Swimming can also lower your metabolism as your body adapts to the water temperature and reduces its energy expenditure. To prevent weight gain from swimming in the pool, you should:
- Swim in warmer water if possible, as this can reduce your hunger and increase your metabolism.
- Monitor your calorie intake and avoid overeating after swimming especially high-fat or high-sugar foods.
- Balance your swimming with other forms of exercise that can boost your metabolism and burn more calories, such as strength training or high-intensity interval training.
- Swim at a moderate to high intensity and vary your strokes and speed to challenge your body and burn more calories.
Swimming in the pool is a great way to stay fit and healthy, but it also has some disadvantages that you should be aware of. By following the tips above, you can minimize the risks and enjoy the benefits of swimming in the pool. Happy swimming!