We’ve heard it all. "You shouldn’t go swimming after eating, chlorine will make your eyes red and your hair green". Are these a colorful bunch of myths or are they really true? Let’s look at what is fact and what is fiction in the world of swimming.
*MYTH: Wait an hour after eating before going swimming
Fiction – with a little bit of fact - when you eat your digestive system uses more blood, leaving less in your other muscles. If you really work out those muscles when you swim, you may get a cramp - but not likely. To avoid this, eat a lighter meal and ease back into swimming after a meal.
*MYTH: You should always shower before entering a pool –
Fact – Showering before you hit the pool is one of the best ways to protect yourself and others from getting ill. Showering helps remove any sweat, lotions, or bacteria from your body so the chlorine in the pool doesn’t have to work as hard. It’s just as important to hit the shower AFTER you leave the pool to remove any bacteria from your hair and skin.
*MYTH: Chlorine will turn my blonde hair green –
Fiction – Chlorine is not the culprit here - it’s actually copper. Some chemicals used to control algae are copper based and the oxidized metals in the water can attach to the protein in your hair. You can avoid the green by conditioning your hair before swimming or using a color stripping shampoo afterwards.
*MYTH: Chlorine makes my eyes red –
Fiction - Again, chlorine is not the culprit here - it’s an unbalanced PH in the water that burns your eyes. If the swimming pool is maintained properly with the correct chemicals and PH balance, you won’t have to worry about having red eyes after swimming.
Whether fact or fiction, we should all be aware that pools are shared by many people and not all of them shower before jumping in. Don’t be afraid to go back in the pool - chlorine does its best to keep the pool from having nasty bacteria and organisms but make sure to shower that pool water (or lake water) off your hair and skin’s surface afterwards. Rinse out your swimsuit too and be sure to wash it and your towels as soon as possible to keep them fresh and clean and ready for the next dip in the water.