When the weather began to turn cold in some countries, many swimmers had to switch to other activities because they were afraid to soak in the freezing cold water. That is very sympathetic because getting into cold water is a real challenge and sometimes quite dangerous if we do not have background knowledge on the subject.
So, what is the temperature of the water to called cold water? Let’s find out.
At the same temperature, it feels colder underwater than on land. That is because human feeling hot and cold is not dependent on the ambient temperature (although the ambient temperature has an indirect effect), it depends on the rate of heat exchange between the body and the environment.
Since water is a better conductor of heat, water absorbs more heat than air, so heat from your body is released in water faster than in air and you will find water cooler than air, even though they have the same temperature. Studies show that the body in water loses heat 25 times faster than it does in the air.
Therefore, we need to master some of the body reactions and water activities in accordance with the following water temperature ranges from high to low:
1. From 30 ° C to 34 ° C (warm-hot water)
These high temperatures are suitable for exercise activities for babies and children, the elderly, the frail, thin, or injured. For children, this temperature helps to keep their bodies comfortable in their new environments, to keep their muscles warm and fluid, and to prevent any shortness of breath that may arise from water that is too cold.
For the elderly, their bodies are less able to tolerate large changes in temperature and are more susceptible to damage in both hot and cold temperatures. Water that is too cold or too hot is not only uncomfortable for the elderly but also detrimental to their health.
2. From 25 ° C to 28 ° C (cool water)
This is the standard temperature for swimming pools that are held in competitions according to the FINA Law. At this temperature range, swimming performance is maximized due to their maximum oxygen consumption and bodily regulatory functions reaching their upper limit.
When the temperature is above this range, the athlete’s performance is reduced as they will use more energy to regulate their warming body temperature. This is also the temperature range where people are comfortable for playing, entertaining, and exercising underwater.
3. From 20 ° C to below 25 ° C (freezing cold water)
There is marked vasoconstriction, organ dysfunction occurs, swimming effort and swimming performance are reduced, and immersion in water will become difficult due to hypothermia.
4. Below 20 ° C (extremely cold water)
Humans come into contact with water at this temperature usually by an accident in the water. Hayward et al suggest that, at temperatures below 20 ° C, people who fall into the water must stay completely still instead of trying to swim, unless they are very close to shore, as swimming increases heat loss through the skin, leading to an earlier loss of body heat, which is life-threatening.
In general, in countries, the most common temperature for a public swimming pool used for recreation and exercise is between 26 ° C – 28 ° C. This temperature is healthy and is the best water temperature for the average swimmer. This is the temperature that makes the swimmer feel cool, when jumping into the water, it will shiver a little, but swimming a few laps feels comfortable and relaxing.
And, of course, it is safe for you to swim in cold water, as long as you remember some tips just for caution:
1. Cold water that can cause a swimmer hazard is typically 21 ° C or below. When the weather starts to get colder (below 20 ° C), we should only swim when the pool has a heater.
2. Bring a few friends to the pool. Overcoming challenges initially requires encouragement and emotional transmission. Challenging with cold water is like challenging with long runs, having a group practice is easier than doing alone. But the challenge with cold water is easier and more fun!
The will to jump into cold water only lasted for an instant, unlike the will to overcome the lingering pain at the end of the long run.
3. Feel and evaluate your own reactions to cold water. Get into the water slowly and keep your face above the water until your breathing is under control. Start with a short swim to find out what your cold tolerance is and always swim with others. If your swimming frequency slows down or you start to shiver, get out of the water and put on a warm coat right away.
4. Run thoroughly before entering the water.
5. Wear two hats. You lose most of the heat through your head and double your “swimming cap” to help you retain heat. You should also use rubber or silicone swimming caps as they are waterproof swim caps, which will help you retain heat for your head better.
6. Use earplugs. The earplugs also help reduce heat loss from your head and keep cold water out of your inner ear and negatively affect your balance.
You can see that water temperatures can be divided into several categories. However, the tolerance to cold thresholds of water temperature varies from person to person. So you can consider your own health condition and stamina to avoid trouble swimming in cold weather!