Swimming is largely considered to be one of the healthiest exercises for the heart. It burns a substantial number of calories, keeps you physically in shape and is considered to highly stress relieving.
All that being said, if you swim frequently, there are several things you should account for. First, the hygiene and cleanliness of the pool should be well ensured. That is to say, the water should be free from bacteria that can be a contributor for various diseases.
But what about the temperature of the water?
While its all the more comfortable to swim in warm water, experts would pinpoint to something more important. Neither is swimming recommended in highly warm nor in extremely cold water. The temperature needs to be moderate!
Before we find out what the ideal temperature of the pool should be, let us look into the effects on our body when we swim in cold vs warm water.
Swimming in Cold vs Warm Water
When you immerse yourself in cold water, your blood vessels start dilating. This allows warm blood to flow, so the temperature of the body is increased and brought to its normal level. Once the temperature has been achieved, the blood vessels would constrict to prevent the entry of more blood. However, the process cannot continue for long and the vessels dilate again. Now cold blood starts flowing to the organs possibly leading to hypothermia. Henceforth, medical experts would argue against swimming in pool water with temperature anything below 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
In contrast, swimming in warm water may not offer much good. It may be equally dangerous for the body but in a different way. When you swim in hot pool conditions (>90F), you risk yourself of being overly exhausted and dehydrated. Important to note that swimming as an exercise already demands rigorous effort. When combined with warm temperature will only make the situation worse for the swimmer. You are likely to have an increased sweat rate which can, in turn, affect the electrolyte balance. The consequences of which are fatigue and muscle spasms.
Additionally, slightly warmer swimming pools also make the growth of microbes conducive. So, if you are looking for some comfort in cold weather, warm pools may offer you the needed advantage but with an associated cost.
The Ideal Temperature of the Pool?
We know that water below 60F and above 90F are both not recommended for swimming. The next question that subsequently arises: so, what should the ideal temperature be?
Well, it really depends varying on the level of activity. If you plan for swimming strenuously, the cooler the better (then again not very cold). The US Olympic swimmers would swim in the pool with water temperature lying between 78 to 80 degrees. Ideally, it should not exceed 82 degrees Fahrenheit. On the other hand, for recreational purposes, in winter especially, the temperature can be raised. Usually monitored public pools would have water between 85 to 87 degrees.
Either way, what you should keep in mind is that the water temperature does have a substantial impact on your body. All that being argued, swimming in outdoor pools particularly in hot conditions should be discouraged. The weather tends to gradually raise the temperature of the water making it further warmer.