There’s really nothing better than taking a dip in a cool pool on a long, hot summer day. With a nice swim, we can relax, exercise or just have fun with friends. We wouldn’t want anyone to miss out on a good time – or, more importantly, suffer a serious injury – so we’re sharing some easy-to-follow tips to think about next time you’re planning a day poolside.
Before You Plunge
Before you get into a pool, it’s important to evaluate first and foremost if you actually should. Ask yourself: Am I alone? Do I not see a lifeguard present? Is the weather report calling for lightning? Have I consumed alcohol? Am I too tired or too overheated? If you can answer ‘yes’ to any of these questions, reconsider.
Know Your Depths
Make sure you know how deep the water is. Look out for depth indicators throughout the pool, as depths can vary in different sections. NEVER dive in shallow water and always check depth markers before you go in headfirst. More on diving in our next section. If you are an inexperienced swimmer, avoid depths where you cannot stand comfortably with your head above water.
It bears repeating: NEVER DIVE IN SHALLOW WATER. Serious spinal cord injuries, including paralysis of all four limbs, can and do occur. Never dive headfirst in above ground pools or water that is murky and where you can’t see the bottom. Dive only off the end of a diving board and swim away from the diving area immediately to avoid the next diver.
If you sit by a pool with children long enough, you’re sure to hear a lifeguard or parent yell “Don’t run!” at least once. It’s for good reason. The area around a pool will naturally be wet, creating a slick surface that is easy to slip on. Add in flimsy flip flops or bare feet and running, and chances of a fall increase. So walk carefully. Also, if swimming at night, make sure the area is well lit to avoid any hazards for trips or falls.
Swimming for Fitness
If swimming is your go-to for aerobic exercise, you’ve made a great choice. It’s an activity that can be continued as you age, is gentle on your joints and is simply a great workout. As with any form of exercise, injuries can occur, so make sure to warm-up your body before you start, stretch often and include weight bearing exercises in your program to strengthen your shoulders and back.
With these basic guidelines, you’re sure to have a summer full of poolside fun, hopefully injury-free. However, should you encounter an issue, as always, the specialists at NEOSM are here to help.