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Debunking 5 Common Swimming Myths You Might Have Heard

Have you ever heard a strange rule from your grandmother about things that are ‘bad’ to do when they seemingly don't make much sense? You’ve probably have some running in your family from them being passed on. Since we love swimming, here are some myths you’ve likely grew up hearing and the truth behind them.

1. “Peeing is the pool is harmless, we all do it”

What’s the worst that can happen, right? It's pretty common to have peed in the pool at least once in our lives (even as babies, maybe?), but what we don’t know is that although small amounts prove to be pretty harmless, large amounts of urine in the pool will definitely change the chemical balance in a chlorine-filled pool and can even be bad for our health. Bacterial infections, diarrhea, and other gastro-intestinal diseases can come from the urine in the pool.

2. “I should wait at least half an hour before swimming”

We have heard this from our moms, our titas, and our lolas. Is it really true? The short answer is no, but probably not for the reason you thought. No one knows when and how this myth started to circulate but we think that it was borne from caution. With any strenuous physical activity, we know better than to have a heavy meal as this may potentially make us nauseous and eventually throw up. This applies not only to swimming, but to other activities as well like yoga, running, and actually any physical activity. For some people, swimming on a full stomach can even give them stomach cramps and a stomach ache. Another possibility would be to prevent the hassle of having to defacate when you’re already in the water. Nobody wants that! Contrary to this myth, experts actually suggest to have a light snack or a small sandwich prior to swimming. Because swimming is a strenuous activity, having a small snack could give you an extra boost of energy and even prevent a dizzy spell.

3).“I don’t need to drink much water when I go swimming, I’m not sweating anyway”

Drinking might not exactly be our first priority when we swim because of already being submerged in it. However, being in the water has nothing to do with our body's hydration. We may not feel as parched as we would if we were running or playing tennis in the heat of the sun, but our bodies still lose hydration through sweating. We might not feel it or see it because we’re swimming and already wet, but when we engage in physical activities, our heart rate and body temperature increases, causing us to sweat. Hydrating when swimming is just as important as hydrating while doing any other physical activity.

4. “Swimming in the rain will get you sick”

The rationale behind the old tale lies in our immunity and drop in temperature. When it rains, the temperature of the water and the environment inevitably drops, exposing us to colder temperature. Slight change in temperature from time to time is alright, but an extended exposure to this colder temperature still affects our bodies, especially to those that have weaker immune systems. Not everyone gets sick from swimming under the rain, but you could definitely still catch a cold. So while it isn’t really the best idea to swim in these circumstances, it is not necessarily bad either. In fact, training to swim in colder temperature actually strengthens the immune system in the long run because it allows our bodies to adapt to temperature changes better—something that is built through time.

5. “Don’t stay too long in a pool when the pool smell is too strong, it means there’s too much chlorine in it”

The real reason why we smell this certain “pool smell”, and the reason our eyes turn red is actually from compounds called chloramines. Chloramines are chemical compounds that form in the pool water when water pollutants (sweat, bodily oils, and other bodily fluids and particles) bind with chlorine. This means when you smell it in a pool, it May actually need more chlorine because it could indicate that there are many contaminants in the water, causing these chloramines to form. A well-maintained pool will have no smell. This is why showering before jumping into the pool is a good habit to practice as it not only acclimates us to the water, but also gets rid of germs and dirt that we would otherwise bring to the pool.

Despite these myths being well-intended for our health and safety, they may not exactly be scientifically proven facts. They do, however, provide some wisdom to us that might actually help prevent unnecessary hassles and health problems. Hopefully we’ve helped debunk these common misconceptions and that we all learned something that we can apply into our swimming as well!


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