Health benefits of different temperature pools
One of the conversations you’ll no doubt hear on repeat during your Aspire Channel Swim will be about the pool temperature. And why not? We’re British! We’re such a weather and temperature obsessed bunch that apparently on average we will each spend four and a half months of our lives talking about it. Pool temperature is just another exciting topic that we can chat about and compare. Like British weather, pool temperature varies a lot depending on where you are, but what impact does this have for us swimmers?
Warmer pools are unbeatable when it comes to taking care of muscles and joints. Swimming in a warm pool (or hydropool) can help in the fight against joint pain and stiffness so is great for arthritis sufferers. The warm water also increases blood flow which improves circulation and a swimmer with good circulation is a happy swimmer. Not only does it help to make sure your muscles are warmed up and ready to go, it also helps to encourage repair in overworked or injured muscles.
At the same time, it’s good to be aware that if you’re really pushing it in a warm pool you’re going to be sweating a lot more than in a cold one. By sweating you’ll be getting the same benefit sauna-goers are in search of – sweating out toxins. Though only in small amounts, sweating is a proven way of removing toxins from the body. The flip side of this is, as you might have already guessed, dehydration becomes more of a risk. Being aware that you’ll become dehydrated more quickly, keeping a bottle poolside and taking sips in the middle of your swim should keep you nicely hydrated.
If you ask any open water swimmer they’ll be able to rattle off a complete list of the benefits of swimming in colder water, and they’ll most likely all be true. If the thought of a dipping your toes in your local pool makes you shiver you’re probably getting a lot of health benefits!
When water is uncomfortably cold the body releases endorphins to help us cope. This creates what’s know as an endorphin high and is a major reason why swimming in cold water helps treat depression. Meanwhile, as your body tries to react to the colder conditions, it will be making more white blood cells, so your immune system will be getting a boost too.
One of the most popular health benefits of swimming in colder water is calorie burning. Your body will naturally be working hard in the background, keeping your core temperature up, so as a result you will be burning more calories than if you were swimming in hotter conditions. If you're not used to cold water remember it takes time to adjust, so don't go too cold too quick and avoid staying in for too long if you're new to colder temperatures.
Swimming is an exercise that has so many health benefits, so whatever temperature you’re swimming in, you’ll be feeling the benefit. To find out which you prefer you could try doing a mile or two of your Aspire Channel Swim in a colder pool (or even in open water). On the other hand if you’re used to chiller conditions why not compare the benefits of swimming in a hydropool? Whatever you do, if you're swimming you’ll still be doing your body a lot of good.