Every morning, my gym rubs my nose in it. On my way to the locker room, the gym’s layout forces me to walk past the swimming pool – a reminder not only of wasted gym fees, but also of my deeper philosophical objections to the whole activity.
Let me be blunt: Stripping down to your banana hammock and diving into the pool is probably the worst possible use of your exercise time. I say this not as some cannonball specialist, but as a former competitive swimmer, with a record at a club in Northern Virginia that still stands after 22 years.
There are the obvious drawbacks to swimming laps: the feeling of someone’s snot sliding down your leg, sections of pool that seem suspiciously warm, the sight of dirty Band-Aids floating past.
There’s also the problem with H2O itself. Water’s cooling effect causes the body to retain, or even increase, fat stores. In water, people can twist their joints in unnatural ways, triggering all kinds of knee and shoulder injuries. And in contrast to every other form of physical activity, a pool’s minimal gravity does nothing to improve bone density.
Most importantly, it’s just intolerable the way chlorine damages your hair.
Regardless, if you’re going to go through the hassle of submerging yourself in cold water and the annoyance of a public bath, at least try. On my way to the locker room today, I saw a guy holding a kickboard in his outstretched arms, pretending to exercise by casually walking up and down the lane.