8 Essential Things Everyone Who Loves Swimming Needs to Know
Many people who love to spend their vacation near the sea or at the pool debate about where it is better to learn to swim, which beaches are dangerous, which type of swimming is better for your health, and where the water is the clearest. In this article, we have compiled the answers to the most frequent questions and busted some myths that could prevent you from having fun while swimming.
On the eve of the velvet season, Bright Side offers you some information that could turn out to be useful, even now.
1. What danger does cold water hide in hot weather?
Some people are sure that jumping into cold water during hot weather contributes to an increase in your resistance to sickness. But the fact that cold water stimulates the production of immune cells (T-lymphocytes) refers only to those who are athletic or really active. For others, a drastic change of temperature is a serious stress for the body and puts a lot of pressure on the heart and vessels.
In order to not provoke increased palpitations, respiratory disorders, the exacerbation of chronic diseases, and convulsions, try to avoid jumping into cold water or cliff jumping. It’s also extremely dangerous if you do it during the hottest part of the day, especially after being in the sun for a long time. Instead, enter the water slowly, splashing your body with water, letting your body gradually get used to the temperature. After this, jumping into the water won’t be dangerous anymore.
2. Which sea creatures are dangerous and which are not?
Many people get freaked out seeing the harmless leafy sea dragon or sea urchins whose needles can prick their feet. Those pricks are painful but luckily, not deadly. At the same time, there are sea creatures that look attractive but are very dangerous.
For example, the poison in the tentacles of the box jellyfish can kill 60 people in 3 minutes, while the cone-shaped shells that people usually take home as souvenirs from the ocean are the former ’homes’ of mollusks with poisonous spikes. The danger appears when people try to hold a live shell in their hands — its poison, called conotoxin, can cause blackouts and in severe cases paralysis and heart failure.
3. How to not get ’Swimmer’s Ear’
Our ears are well-protected from water by nature because of the shape of our auricle. It doesn’t allow water to get inside and stagnate, while the sulfur in ear wax retains the acidic pH and kills bacteria and fungi. But the ear wax of people who swim a lot tends to get washed out and that’s when ears become vulnerable. With the weakening and overcooling of the body, it can lead to otitis.
Doctors recommend wiping ears with the corner of tissues, drying them with a hair dryer (not with hot but warm airflow), and using drip ear drops that are alcohol-based. The perfect option would be to use special swimming hats and earplugs that are available in various shapes — mushrooms, balls, and arrows. There are also earplugs for kids and earplugs without silicone that are made of a hypoallergenic material with wax and almond oil.
4. Avoiding the harmful effects of salt and chlorine
In order to keep your skin healthy while swimming in the ocean, always remember to take a shower afterward. It will help cleanse the skin from toxins that are drawn out by the salt. After your shower, dry your skin thoroughly and apply moisturizing lotion.
Pools with chlorine often cause inflammation of the eyes, aging of the skin, and deterioration of hair quality. How do you protect yourself? The best option is to use pools where disinfection is done with the help of ozone or ultraviolet. They add less chlorine to the water in these pools. A tight hat and glasses with a silicone frame can protect you in an ordinary swimming pool.
Always remove makeup before swimming because the reaction of chlorine and cosmetics can cause an allergic reaction. Also, apply coconut oil or nourishing body cream to your whole body. After swimming, take a shower with a shower puff and shower gel, wipe your body with a towel, and apply moisturizers with linolenic acids, lecithin, vitamins A and E, and oils. If you’re swimming in an indoor pool, don’t go outside right away afterward, especially in cold weather — wait for 20-30 minutes so that the excess moisture evaporates from the skin.
5. What risks do we take when going to a beach with ’No Swimming’ signs?
Very often people don’t pay attention to ’No Swimming’ and ’No Diving’ signs when they see a sunny beach and other people having fun. If this sign is located near a river or a lake there is a high chance that dangerous organisms that cause intestinal, ear, and eye infections or parasites are present from sewage or other systems. Additionally, some factories often discard decaying products that can cause allergies and diseases in certain technical zones, and the “flowering” water there is often oversaturated with bio-discharges.
’No Swimming’ signs at the beach often save people’s lives because they are placed there when there are rip currents that can pull a person out to sea. These currents occur in different corners of the world — Phuket, the Sea of Azov, and the Gulf of Mexico. People should avoid swimming in narrow straits and between islands. If you’ve gotten into a dangerous zone, don’t swim toward the shore, but parallel to it. This will help you get out of the current by letting it pulling you out and you will eventually be able to get back to the shore. Also, never ignore a ban for diving because the bottom in these places can be full of invisible stones, iron rods, and sunken items.
6. Where is it better to learn to swim: in the ocean or in a pool?
Many people learn to swim spontaneously when they go to a river or the ocean. You can try if the water is calm and clear, if the person you’re with is a strong swimmer, and if you remember to put on a life jacket. Parents usually teach their kids by standing opposite them and letting their child swim to them at short distances.
Even though it’s much easier to float in dense sea water, swimming lessons are often disturbed by blinding sun, waves, currents, and sometimes numerous sea creatures. Professionals recommend passing the beginners course in a swimming pool with a coach. Many people learn a lot from their first lessons and acquire important skills they’ll use for their whole life.
7. How to behave in an emergency situation in order to not harm yourself?
If you have never been taught swimming by a coach and don’t know much about survival tips, don’t ignore game courses arranged on beaches by lifeguards. It would be a good idea to take part in these courses with your whole family or with friends. According to experts, a person remembers more when they are taught the information cheerfully, rather than reading a long brochure on the topic.
You’ll learn how to behave in emergency situations. For example, if a rip current is taking you out to sea together with your child, lifeguards recommend not trying to constantly lift the baby up because it will exhaust the both of you within 20-30 seconds. Instead, they will advise that you put the baby on its back, support their neck, and swim in a slow breaststroke until lifeguards arrive. This method will help save your energy.
8. How to reduce the risk of getting an infection after swimming
It’s safer to swim at public beaches where the water is tested. And don’t swallow water, especially if its temperature is higher than 75°F because you can end up being infected by rotavirus. Its symptoms, that appear after 2-3 days, include vomiting, intestinal disorders, fever, and sore throat.
Don’t wash fruits and vegetables in sea water because there is a high risk of getting E. coli or enterovirus. By the way, you can also get meningitis when swimming in warm water. Surprisingly, Staphylococcus aureus, something else you can get from swimming, is not dangerous for healthy people. It’s more dangerous for people with weak immune systems or skin damage.
If you are taking a vacation with your baby, don’t let them play in the surf line because the water there is the most contaminated. Try to distract his attention by building sand castles and get the water for playing from deeper waters.
Doctors say that the concentration of pathogens of serious infections is small in swimming pools because bacteria quickly die when in a chlorinated environment. But there is a risk of getting some infections from pool surfaces and other people’s belongings.
As the best and most efficient way to cool down, water makes us feel good in the summer. But not all of us know that there are many other bonuses that can be added to this list:
- You burn more calories when swimming in cold water (the biggest calorie burn happens when swimming using the butterfly stroke);
- Your posture will improve because the spine receives less load, while the back, chest, and waist muscles strengthen (breaststroke is the best option in this case);
- The flat belly of your dreams will appear quickly if you swim often and work hard with your legs;
- Your stress will melt away because cool water and floating are good for the nervous system (breaststroke and backstroke are the best for relaxation);
- You get a gadget ’detox’ because you’ll say goodbye to your smartphone and other devices while swimming;
- You will increase your mental acuity. Are you surprised? Special coordination and vigorous breathing contribute to the saturation of blood with oxygen (use different methods of swimming to get more benefits for the brain).
Also, you’ll get the bonus that most swimmers have — healthy lungs and heart, more flexible joints, a better composition of blood, and activated immune cells. It is the most useful therapy for varicose veins and herniated intervertebral discs. Finally, here is another inspiring fact — you can swim from the first month of life and to old age — there are no age limits.
What other recommendations would you add to this list? Please share them with us in the comments!