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Debunking 3 Myths About Swimming

We’ve all heard the warning about not swimming within thirty minutes after eating. Depending on the source, you might even hear that you should wait a full hour to really be sure that you won’t get into the pool and immediately sink to the bottom due to cramps. It’s false, and even fact-checking site Snopes has tackled this myth and found it to be lacking. Here are 3 more swimming myths you should re-examine.

Swimming Is for Wimps

Swimming has a well-deserved reputation for being a low-impact form of exercise. While that only means swimming puts low amounts of stress on the body, in some circles that translates to “Swimming is for weak people who can’t run five miles in the morning.” If you want to run five miles every day, go ahead, but don’t judge swimmers for doing what works for them. If you really want to give swimming regularly a shot, do not be dissuaded by critics who say it’s somehow not enough.

According to Shape Magazine, 60 minutes of “moderate” swimming burns around 500 calories. If you don’t feel like going to your local gym’s weight-lifting section, then head to the pool for a workout that will make your whole body stronger and more toned. Just don’t eat like Michael Phelps at the Olympics unless you’re actually an Olympian, since most swimmers aren’t in the pool nearly long enough to justify eating 8,000 calories a day. But regular swimming is going to make your legs look great in those short white dresses that you buy for summer barbecues, and really, summer barbecuing should be an Olympic sport.

Only Rich People Can Swim

In 2010, the BBC interviewed several experts about why American children of color are statistically less likely to know how to swim than white children. One expert said swimming is perceived as “a country club sport that only very rich kids get to participate in.” There are advocacy groups out there working to change that, because teaching more people how to swim is the best way to reduce the drowning rate.

But let’s go back to the myth: Do you need to be wealthy to do something like hire a swimming pool contractor in New Jersey? You don’t have to be a millionaire or anything, but you won’t get very far in the process if you’re just barely scraping by every month. That doesn’t mean people who have backyard pools need to feel guilty or ashamed of the fact, and similarly, no one should expect private pool owners to open their backyards up to the public. But there are other ways to learn how to swim. If you like swimming, then tell other people about it and encourage them to sign their kids up for swimming lessons. Programs like the Make a Splash tour offer free or low-cost classes to children.

Chlorine in the Pool Kills Urine

This is definitely one of the grosser myths associated with swimming. If you’re swimming with adults, you can probably count on most of them to behave themselves, but the bathroom situation can get out of hand fast during children’s swim time. Scientific research says that urinating in the pool rather than in a proper bathroom can actually be harmful to your health. It turns out that chlorine mixed with urine can create toxic compounds that you do not want to be around.

Chlorine is a wonderful chemical that can do a lot of good things, but it’s no substitute for a proper toilet. When you have to go, do everyone a favor and climb out of the pool first. And don’t get in the pool at all if you’re experiencing stomach problems or other issues that might make it hard to control certain bodily functions.

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