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Growing up I had a friend whose father went polar bear swimming. In fact, the entire family belonged to a club that called themselves the Polar bears and the Polar bears went swimming in the ocean mid-winter in freezing temperatures. As a kid observing this and enjoying my scarf, hat, mittens, and down coat, I thought this was a crazy idea, but it turns out it could be beneficial. Afterall swimming is good for the body any time and at any temperature. It doesn’t matter when you get started, just jump in!

If you’re a beginner swimmer or an expert competitor, everybody starts at the same place. Build up your swimming technique and stamina with each session. Each time, you should start to feel a bit stronger in the pool and be able to build up to the next level.

You should actually start out of the water– before your training sessions you should activate muscles, and afterward, you should stretch to remobilize.

To beat the boredom, mix it up with different strokes. Swimming is a such a great workout for the entire body because it targets muscles in a way that you can’t replicate in your everyday lifestyle.

Also try to use different bits of equipment. Fins are a great way to work on leg strength and paddles for your hands are great for your upper body. By trying out different equipment, you can work on specific parts of the body and then target any weaknesses. Toughen up your lower body by working on kicking exercises. You can do this at the edge of the pool and depending on your ability to float and your core strength you can do this with or without holding on to the pool’s edge.

Spike your heart rate by mixing up the speeds which in turn will help you achieve better fitness gains. Try to have between 5 and 10 seconds of rest between your repetitions. This will enhance endurance levels.

Have a plan before you begin so you don’t get bored or worse– give up. If you have access to a heart-rate monitor, use it in the session and you can work in different training zones, it will also give you an idea on how different strokes/speeds can spike your heart rate.

Here are some favorite gym exercises that strengthen your swimming and also keep you in shape when the pool is closed or the weather doesn’t permit swimming: Pull-ups, Press-ups, Leg press, and Lunge/weighted lunge.

Now that you’ve got your motivation and your plan, get going! If you can’t swim in your own pool because of the weather, try a pool club. If that isn’t possible try those land exercises. Why wait until warm weather to get your body moving and healthy…in or out of the water.

Photos: Pinterest


What about Chlorine?

Calm Water Pool

Pool owners should acquaint themselves with the ins and outs of handling chlorine. They should know the facts about this chemical to properly and safely maintain a swimming pool. For example, a clean pool shouldn’t smell of chemicals at all! In fact, an unsanitary pool usually reeks of chlorine! Let’s delve in, shall we?

What Does Chlorine Do?

Pool owners use this chemical as a means to eliminate their pools of harmful bacteria and other germs. This usually occurs in a two-step process. The chlorine first acts as a disinfectant, killing bacteria or algae. Then, it oxidizes, chemically destroying dirt or other foreign materials found in a pool.

How Much Chlorine Should You Use?

On average, a swimming pool contains anywhere from 3 to 5 ppm of chlorine. You can calculate how much chlorine you need to sanitize your pool with a standard measurement. An above ground swimming pool that is 48 inches tall and 15 feet wide contains 4,978 gallons, whereas an in-ground pool can hold 31,000 gallons or more depending on its size. You can also determine the number of gallons your swimming pool can hold by calculating the volume of the pool, then converting that amount into gallons. Since chlorine tablets are the most common form for dispensing chlorine, determine the size of your pool to find the number of tablets needed.

Test the appropriate amount of chlorine by measuring a pool’s pH level. The pH level measures the acidity in the water; this level can affect vital chemical reactions occurring inside the pool during the cleaning process. A normal pH level for a swimming pool ranges between 7.2 to 8.0 pH.

Is Chlorine Harmful?

If it’s misused, chlorine can be very harmful. About 10% of homeowners fail routine pool inspections, so it is imperative that pool owners adhere to using the correct amount of chlorine needed for the size of their pool. Chlorine reacts with other organic materials such as urine, feces, sweat, and saliva all commonly found in a pool. This creates disinfection byproducts also known as chloramines that have a distinct smell. While many consider clean pools to be bright blue in color, it may actually be a sign of an unsanitary pool.

How To Safely Use Chlorine

There is a safety requirement for each of the seasons. Both winterizing your pool and preparing for spring’s pool opening requires the same amount of care as during the summer season.

Experts recommend keeping all of these tips in mind to make sure you have a safe and enjoyable pool season.