Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Are Indoor Pools Bad for Your Lungs?

The chlorine in indoor pools can be detrimental to pulmonary health for competitive swimmers who spend a lot of time at the pool. “When some of our high-school swimmers are going on college recruiting trips, we tell them to follow one simple rule,” says Dr. Jim Miller. “If you walk into the building and can find your way to the pool without directions, don’t go to that school. A smelly pool is, chemically, way out of balance.” If your favorite pool is easy to find, blind-folded, talk to the manager about re-calibrating the amount of chlorine being used or improving the air flow in the facility.

Overall, researchers say, the benefits of swimming for exercise outweigh the risks. As the authors of the Quebec City study of youthful swim racers were careful to point out, only one of the 72 swimmers they studied smoked and none were obese, making them statistical anomalies among the young. “Breathing problems do sometimes develop,” Miller says. “But with rare exceptions, they can be controlled. Swimming remains, in general, very good for you.” (NYT)

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