As a fun activity for all ages, swimming offers multiple health benefits that can energize your summer. But with pandemic worries still lingering, many pool and beach-goers might hesitate before getting their feet wet. Is the risk worth the reward?

Read on to learn how to navigate the benefits and potential concerns of swimming this summer. 

The health benefits of swimming

Swimming is a low-impact exercise ideal for any age group—especially those suffering from arthritis and other chronic conditions. Unlike cardio exercises that place a ton of stress on the joints, like running or jogging, swimming cushions the body’s joints and muscles. The resistance of the water helps strengthen muscles, improve flexibility, and build endurance, all while reducing the chance of physical injury. 

Not to mention, swimming gets the heart and lungs pumping! Regular, ongoing swimming can help your body learn to use oxygen more efficiently, benefiting overall cardiovascular and respiratory health.  

Is it safe to swim this summer? 

With the COVID-19 pandemic still impacting life, questions about water-based infections are natural. Is there a maximum number of people allowed in the water to limit the spread of COVID-19? Is a summer pool party still feasible? The good news is, health professionals have provided guidance for visiting the pool or beach during the pandemic.

Swimming at the pool

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), evidence suggests that COVID-19 cannot be spread to humans through recreational water, like a local pool. Plus, routine disinfection with chlorine or bromine (if you encounter a chlorine shortage), should inactivate the virus that causes COVID-19. In other words, pool water alone will not get you or your loved ones sick.

However, one of the key ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to get vaccinated and practice social distancing as needed in and out of the water. Before heading to the pool, assess the location and avoid overcrowded areas. 

Though there is no maximum pool occupancy limit suggested by doctors, FEMA recommends a distance of 36 square feet per person based on the CDC’s 6-foot social distancing criteria. If you and your family decide to take a swim, continue to practice a 6-foot social distance and wear a mask when not in the water in accordance with the CDC guidelines. 

Swimming at the beach

Swimming at a local beach may be a better option than a local pool when it comes to the risk of coronavirus. With significantly more space on the beach, you and your family have a better chance of maintaining proper social distancing and avoiding contact with others. 

Nonetheless, you should still practice recommended safety precautions while at the beach. With children and adults aged 12+ eligible for vaccination, it’s best you receive your complete immunization two weeks before hitting the sand. At the beach, avoid overcrowded areas, wear a mask when not in the water, and maintain 6 feet of space when around others. 

The bottom line

The good news is, you can absolutely stay both cautious and cool this summer. Before heading out to the beach or pool, just be sure you follow all recommended safety procedures to minimize the risk of COVID-19 exposure.