Tuesday, January 24, 2012

I'm Cold in the pool but it's warm water




It's so common to get parent saying "the pool is too cold" only to star at you with disbelief when you tell then that the pool temperature is 29 deg C (82 deg F) even when the water is at 32 deg C (89 deg F) it is not uncommon for swimmers and parents alike to question the temperature of the pool.

There are several things going on here:

Firstly there is a failure on the part of swimmers and parents alike to recognize that their body regardless of what temperature is around them is about 37 deg C (98 deg F). Therefore climbing into anything less than that is going to feel Cooler Depending on how sensitive you are to temperature change.

Secondly water dissipates heat faster than air, that is why we sweat to get rid of body heat faster. As someone in Yahoo answers put it: "Something feels warm or cool to your body based on how much heat is moved in or out of your body; if both the water and the air are 80 (F 27 deg C) degrees (both lower than body temperature) your body will give up more heat to change the temperature of the water than it gives up to the air. Because the water takes more heat from your body, it feels cooler."

Thirdly when you get out of the water because you are wet you are going to cool down really fast. All in all everything is conspiring to make you feel that the water is Colder that it actually is.

So next time you ask the life guard at your local pool what the temperature of the pool water is and it feels colder to you than what s/he says. Don't Get upset with him or her and accuse them of lying. Remember they are probable telling you the truth and it is your perception that is off.

Enjoy
   Richard

2 comments:

  1. Good observation on body temperature's role in the perception of cold. This is precisely why we keep our pool quite a bit warmer than average pools--it helps the learning environment. We have this luxury because we do not have lap swimming at our pool (which requires somewhat cooler water.

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  2. Nice article! You covered some important points. We do everything we can to keep the kids warm in our swim lessons. Our indoor pools are heated to 90 degrees year-round to make learning fun and effective. However, you are right – other factors can make the water feel colder than it actually is. I wish everyone would read this. Thanks for sharing!

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