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Thread: Safe pool temperature for various health conditions

  1. #1
    Very Active Member ElaineK's Avatar
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    Question Safe pool temperature for various health conditions

    The noodlers have succeeded, again, in getting the pool temperature raised to 86 degrees! I have sent an e-mail to the American Red Cross, however, the more information I gather, the better! If any of you have any published articles on this topic, I would greatly appreciate it!

    Here is the e-mail I sent to the American Red cross:

    Hello,
    I live in an adult community with an indoor swimming pool. After doing internet research, I am still not sure of a definitive recommendation of appropriate water temperatures for the following:

    1. Adults (55 years old or older) swimming laps and/or participating in water aerobics who have high blood pressure or other heart conditions.
    2. Adults (55 years old or older) swimming laps and/or participating in water aerobics who have diabetes.

    In addition, what is the recommended air temperature and humidity percentage for an indoor pool?

    The pool temperature in our community was raised from 84 to 86, so I am trying to build a case for lowering the temperature to suit the needs of the majority of our residents. And, it is my guess that most of the residents using the pool have either high blood pressure, other heart conditions, diabetes, or other health conditions making it a health risk to exercise in 86 degree water.

    Any assistance and documentation you can provide would be most appreciated!

    Thank you very much,

    Elaine Krugman

    Thanks, Forumites, for any documentation you send my way! By the way, if you can post links in the forums, perhaps it would help others, as well, who are battling the same issues. If you have articles to send as attachments, please send me a PM and I will provide you my e-mail address.

    Thanks!
    Elaine

    P.S. Anna Lea: If you see this, does USMS have any "official" documentation at your offices?
    http://ElaineiaKsTravels.wordpress.com

    ~ Believing in your dreams can be far more rewarding than living by your limitations ~Karla Peterson

  2. #2
    Very Active Member Celestial's Avatar
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    Re: Safe pool temperature for various health conditions

    Hey, I don't have any statistics, but how about doing a cost analysis of the heating bill -- per degree of Farenheit? Our pool did an informal cost analysis, and for each degree above 82 F, they found an increase of about $3000 per month for heating. Sometimes money speaks louder than words.

  3. #3
    Very Active Member philoswimmer's Avatar
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    Re: Safe pool temperature for various health conditions

    Here is some information that is not very supportive of your cause, unfortunately:

    http://www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/uploade...Guidelines.pdf

    I will keep looking, though.

  4. #4
    Very Active Member geochuck's Avatar
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    Re: Safe pool temperature for various health conditions

    Hot water, warm water, cool water, cold water. Why complain? just be happy you have a pool to swim in. I have heard pools are closing. Be grateful that the people who want warmer water are going in numbers that help keep the pool open.

    Make your work outs short and work out more often.
    Last edited by geochuck; November 29th, 2010 at 07:32 AM.
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  5. #5
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    Re: Safe pool temperature for various health conditions

    Personal observation. Warmer water leads to more skin problems.
    I teach and warm water is good for extended periods of little activity. Cooler water is better for working out.
    Anything over 89 is too hot and gives me a rash.
    By the way, my age qualifies me as a senior.

  6. #6
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    Re: Safe pool temperature for various health conditions

    I forgot something. The difference between air and water temp is more important than the actual water temp.

  7. #7
    Very Active Member pendaluft's Avatar
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    Re: Safe pool temperature for various health conditions

    Quote Originally Posted by norascats View Post
    I forgot something. The difference between air and water temp is more important than the actual water temp.
    I agree -- I swim in a pool that is too warm (often 85, sometimes warmer) but the air temperature is often 80 and sometimes lower. This makes everyone complain (especially the little kids and swim instructors who do a lot of standing in the shallow end) that it's too cold. Then they crank up the up heat...again.

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    Very Active Member gdanner's Avatar
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    Re: Safe pool temperature for various health conditions

    Quote Originally Posted by geochuck View Post
    Hot water, warm water, cool water, cold water. Why complain?
    Assuming she is paying to use the facility, she should be able to give her opinion on the temperature of the pool. It is more difficult to do an intense workout in hot temps. 86 degrees is unbearable...I would never train regularly at a pool that high.

    Unfortunately, based on the link philoswimmer posted, it looks like 86 is appropriate for many activities.

    Quote Originally Posted by ElaineK
    lowering the temperature to suit the needs of the majority of our residents


    If the majority truly want it lower, I would think a simple petition would suffice. Did you ask the aquatics director why the temperature was raised?

  9. #9
    Very Active Member philoswimmer's Avatar
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    Re: Safe pool temperature for various health conditions

    Quote Originally Posted by norascats View Post
    I forgot something. The difference between air and water temp is more important than the actual water temp.
    Really? I'm not sure that's true. This time of year in No. Cal, the air temp is in the 40s, or sometimes even high 30s. The pool is about 80-81. It's nice at first to be able to get into a warm pool, but once I start getting into the workout, I usually end up wishing it were a little cooler.

  10. #10
    Farewell Lily smontanaro's Avatar
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    Re: Safe pool temperature for various health conditions

    I assumed the "difference between air and water temp" reference was to the effect on noodlers and little kids who will be standing around much of the time. If the air temp is 74 and the water temp is 83 it will be more uncomfortable to stand around than if the air temp was 78. Norascats, was my interpretation on your statement correct?

    S

  11. #11
    Very Active Member ElaineK's Avatar
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    Re: Safe pool temperature for various health conditions

    Thanks to all of you for your feedback; I appreciate it! I live in an adult community and we all pay HOA dues to use the facilities. I'm already swimming 6 times per week, 1-11/2 hours each session, Geo, so swimming more often is not an option. I AM thankful, but I am also concerned about some of my friends who are using the pool to swim laps, etc., who may not realize the risks.

    The documentation I have seen states the same thing as the link you provided, Philo. What's missing is recommended temperatures for those swimming or exercising in water with high blood pressure, other heart conditions or diabetes; conditions afflicting many of our current pool users. Trying to nail that down has been difficult.

    At 86 degrees, the water is four degrees above recommended maximum temperatures for lap swimmers. And, it is two degrees above the max for somebody with MS, which includes one of our complaining noodlers.

    Humidity levels should be kept between 50-60%, according to my research, and air temperature should max. at 80 degrees. Currently, the humidity fluctuates between 70-82%, because the HVAC system keeps malfunctioning and they can't seem to get a handle on the problem. In the summer, air temps. exceed 90 degrees every day. Currently, it's below 80, so that is a good thing!

    I have talked to the HOA, sent letters, sent letters to the board of directors, etc., with no luck. Our annual meeting is coming up on December 7, so I plan on providing more documentation at that time.

    Celeste brought up a good point: If nobody is concerned about the health of our residents, perhaps the thousands of extra $$$ being spent on heating will wake them up!
    http://ElaineiaKsTravels.wordpress.com

    ~ Believing in your dreams can be far more rewarding than living by your limitations ~Karla Peterson

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    Re: Safe pool temperature for various health conditions

    Quote Originally Posted by Celestial View Post
    Hey, I don't have any statistics, but how about doing a cost analysis of the heating bill -- per degree of Farenheit? Our pool did an informal cost analysis, and for each degree above 82 F, they found an increase of about $3000 per month for heating. Sometimes money speaks louder than words.
    In these days of tight budgets, I think this is the way to go. What are the details of the pool for which you did the analysis? I've been trying to make the argument that we could save considerable money by keeping our 50 m pool at 81 rather than 83. But, I didn't have even an informal estimate of potential savings. $3000 per month per degree might get people's attention. I assume that we could also count on savings on chemicals since chlorine is much more effective at lower temperatures.

    Thanks!

  13. #13
    Very Active Member knelson's Avatar
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    Re: Safe pool temperature for various health conditions

    Quote Originally Posted by ElaineK View Post
    The documentation I have seen states the same thing as the link you provided, Philo. What's missing is recommended temperatures for those swimming or exercising in water with high blood pressure, other heart conditions or diabetes; conditions afflicting many of our current pool users.
    What makes you think the recommendations for these groups would be different? I'm not trying to be combative here, just wondering.

    Based on philo's link, 86 seems like a decent compromise, especially for a senior community. I think your best hope is if there are more lap swimmers using the pool than other groups, but somehow I doubt that's the case. Also note the 78-82 recommendation is coming from USA Swimming so this is for swimmers training hard. Somehow I doubt the lap swimmers at your pool (with the exception of you) are working that hard.

    Good luck, but I think you've got a tough sell!

  14. #14
    Very Active Member ElaineK's Avatar
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    Re: Safe pool temperature for various health conditions

    Quote Originally Posted by knelson View Post
    What makes you think the recommendations for these groups would be different? I'm not trying to be combative here, just wondering.

    Based on philo's link, 86 seems like a decent compromise, especially for a senior community. I think your best hope is if there are more lap swimmers using the pool than other groups, but somehow I doubt that's the case. Also note the 78-82 recommendation is coming from USA Swimming so this is for swimmers training hard. Somehow I doubt the lap swimmers at your pool (with the exception of you) are working that hard.

    Good luck, but I think you've got a tough sell!
    78-82 degrees is the recommendation for every source I researched, including American Red Cross. 78 degrees is recommended for competitive swimming and 82 is the max. for ALL lap swimmers.

    What makes me think the recommendations would be different for those with high blood pressure and other conditions? Common sense, for one, because of the stress to the heart, exercising in warm water and warm air temperature. But, more importantly, it is what I have heard from medical doctors. The thing is, I need published documentation to provide to the board of directors, before our meeting, on December 7.
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    Very Active Member Midas's Avatar
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    Re: Safe pool temperature for various health conditions

    Quote Originally Posted by philoswimmer View Post
    Really? I'm not sure that's true. This time of year in No. Cal, the air temp is in the 40s, or sometimes even high 30s. The pool is about 80-81. It's nice at first to be able to get into a warm pool, but once I start getting into the workout, I usually end up wishing it were a little cooler.
    I wholeheartedly agree with this. In fact, when the air is 30-40, then 78 degree water should feel downright toasty!

    The problem we face is that not everybody trains at the same intensity. If you're working hard, then 78 and even 74-76 degree water should feel fine to most people while water warmer than 80 will begin feeling oppresively hot. But thankfully masters swimming is not necessarily all about training at high intensity. We have a number of swimmers on our team that are happy with moderate (or lower) intensity workouts. And we have some swimmers with very thin skin too.

    It's very hard for our coach to get through a workout with one contingent or the other complaining about the pool temps.

  16. #16
    Swimming gives me a buzz! Bobinator's Avatar
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    Re: Safe pool temperature for various health conditions

    The main concern with "working out" in warm conditions (running, swimming, cycling, etc) is replenishing fluids lost through sweating.
    I'd advise you to take a cold bottle of water with you during your workouts and swig on it inbetween sets. I'd also encourage you to drink throughout the day on a regular basis.
    I don't think you need any fancy replacement drinks; good old fashioned water is about as good as it gets.
    A diet rich in fruits and vegetables will also help with hydration and almost any other aspect of your health.
    In my opinion 86 degrees is not dangerous. I'm sure most swimmers prefer it cooler but sometimes it's not possible.
    We (Nasti's) endured water in the 90's with the sun beating down on our heads every workout for at least 2 months this summer. It took a couple days to acclimate to it but eventually you will if you don't obsess over it.
    I don't mind the heat as much indoors. The combo of a strong sun + hot water saps me quickly.
    HTFU!

  17. #17
    Very Active Member geochuck's Avatar
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    Re: Safe pool temperature for various health conditions

    A thought, those with high blood pressure should actually curb their appetite for hard swimming.

    I think you will find that the cost per degree of heat is not $3000.00 per degree a month as others had mentioned. My total bill for keeping a pool at 90 to 92 degrees is $3200.00 a month and that also includes dehumidification and heat. The pool is 20' wide and 60' long, average depth 4.5 feet. we keep the humidity at 55% and the air at 86 degrees. We do keep the pool covered at night, to stop evaporation which cools the water.
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  18. #18
    Very Active Member ElaineK's Avatar
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    Re: Safe pool temperature for various health conditions

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobinator View Post
    The main concern with "working out" in warm conditions (running, swimming, cycling, etc) is replenishing fluids lost through sweating.
    I'd advise you to take a cold bottle of water with you during your workouts and swig on it inbetween sets. I'd also encourage you to drink throughout the day on a regular basis.
    I don't think you need any fancy replacement drinks; good old fashioned water is about as good as it gets.
    A diet rich in fruits and vegetables will also help with hydration and almost any other aspect of your health.
    In my opinion 86 degrees is not dangerous. I'm sure most swimmers prefer it cooler but sometimes it's not possible.
    We (Nasti's) endured water in the 90's with the sun beating down on our heads every workout for at least 2 months this summer. It took a couple days to acclimate to it but eventually you will if you don't obsess over it.
    I don't mind the heat as much indoors. The combo of a strong sun + hot water saps me quickly.
    I'm not as concerned about myself (even though I have medical issues associated with heat intolerance) as I am for older friends using the pool. I have both lap swimming friends and water aerobics friends (my friends aren't the noodlers!) who have the medical conditions I listed. And, I'm sure a good percentage of our pool users do, as well.

    I drink more water than anybody I know! On the edge of the pool, I start with two large water bottles that are full. By the end of my swim, they are empty. I also don't go anywhere without my water bottle; doctors orders. I know I'm drinking enough water, but I'm not sure others using the 86 degree pool are. Most don't have a water bottle with them at all!

    A cooler pool IS possible, in this particular case. It's an indoor pool and the thermostat can be turned back down tomorrow!

    Again, 86 degrees is not "dangerous" for a HEALTHY swimmer. But, what I am trying to determine is if it is for a swimmer with (again!) high blood pressure, other heart conditions, or diabetes. What's dangerous or not dangerous for a healthy person is not the issue.
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  19. #19
    Very Active Member ElaineK's Avatar
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    Re: Safe pool temperature for various health conditions

    Quote Originally Posted by geochuck View Post
    A thought, those with high blood pressure should actually curb their appetite for hard swimming.

    I think you will find that the cost per degree of heat is not $3000.00 per degree a month as others had mentioned. My total bill for keeping a pool at 90 to 92 degrees is $3200.00 a month and that also includes dehumidification and heat. The pool is 20' wide and 60' long, average depth 4.5 feet. we keep the humidity at 55% and the air at 86 degrees. We do keep the pool covered at night, to stop evaporation which cools the water.
    Our community pool ranges from 31/2 to 5 ft deep and is 25 yards long, five lanes wide. Another one of the Sun City communities has a pool like ours and it costs them an additional $1500-2000/ month(according to one of their office employees) for every degree above 82. So, we're looking at, say, $6,000+ extra, every month the pool is heated to 86 degrees!
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    ~ Believing in your dreams can be far more rewarding than living by your limitations ~Karla Peterson

  20. #20
    Very Active Member philoswimmer's Avatar
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    Re: Safe pool temperature for various health conditions

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobinator View Post
    The main concern with "working out" in warm conditions (running, swimming, cycling, etc) is replenishing fluids lost through sweating.
    Well, there is heat exhaustion, which people with high blood pressure are more prone to. Is drinking a sufficient amount of liquids enough to prevent heat exhaustion (or even worse, heatstroke)? I would not have thought so.

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