Blog

20
Feb

How to Protect your Hair from Chlorine Damage

By Jannina M. Londono

SwimJim Lifeguard and Instructor-in-training  

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Love to swim but hate the effect the chlorine has on your hair? Well, now you can learn to protect your hair before, during and after swimming. Let’s start by explaining what chlorine is and why it’s in the pool to begin with. Chlorine is used as a water disinfectant, and without it, you wouldn’t want to swim in the pool to begin with! Chlorine helps keep the water safe and clean enough to swim in. Short, occasional exposures to chlorine won’t cause much damage to your hair, but overtime it can lead to dryness or change the tone of dyed hair.

Here are three basic tips that are absolutely FREE and can help you protect your hair!

  1. Your hair is very porous so if you thoroughly wet your hair in the shower or with clean tap water BEFORE entering the pool, your hair will be full of water and thus absorb less of the chlorine! Because of this fact, running sunscreen or Vaseline through your hair BEFORE entering the pool will coat your hair and help prevent the absorption of chlorine while also providing moisture. Rinse hair AFTER swimming! Rinsing your hair immediately after swimming can help wash away the bulk of the chlorine and any other dirt or bacteria that was picked up in the pool.
  2. Chlorine build-up can lead to limp, dry and dull hair. Using an apple cider vinegar rinse can help restore life and moisture to your hair within minutes. To safely rinse your hair with apple cider vinegar, you should mix four parts water to one part vinegar in a spray bottle. You should then spray your scalp generously and work into your hair with your fingers or a comb. Let the vinegar mixture sit for three to five minutes (depending on the length and thickness of your hair) and then rinse with cold water. Follow with a light conditioner and rinse well.
  3. Wear a swim cap! This may sound very obvious, but it really can significantly decrease the amount of chlorine your hair absorbs. And if you thoroughly wet your hair before putting on the cap, even better!

Here are three products that you can use to increase the protection on your hair!

  1. Chlorine-removing shampoos can be very helpful if used after swimming. These shampoos focus on removing any chlorine deposits left on the hair and some also help restore moisture as well. Ultraswim chlorine-removing shampoo has had great results and Fairy Tales Brand is great for kids hair (and adults too)!
  2. Leave-in conditioners are great to apply to wet hair after shampooing. This helps restore the moisture that was lost due to the chlorine and helps protect the hair from further damage. CHI silk infusion is a great leave-in conditioner that can be applied to dry hair before swimming and wet hair after!
  3. Lastly, if your hair is very dry or damaged you may want to talk to your hair stylist about getting a Moroccan oil treatment done. This is a great treatment to restore large amounts of moisture to your hair as well as restoring shine and overall health.

Don’t let chlorine damage get in the way of swimming! The damage is very preventable and treatable and we hope this tips will help you!

21
Jan

Myths of Winter Swimming

aquatics

Many parents face a dilemma in the winter months: “to swim, or not to swim?”

Old wives tales  concerning children’s health in the winter are often taken as fact. When it comes to telling the difference between heath basics and popular mythology, parents don’t always have all the right information.  Dr. Norris Payne of Payne Pediatrics offers some facts to dispel these myths.

MYTH #1: Swimming, cold, and wind can cause ear infections.

FACT: Middle ear infections (otitis media), common in small children, are caused by viruses and infectious colds. Typically, fluids from the Eustachian tubes in the ear drain through the nose and throat. During illness, passages constrict and the fluid builds up and may   become infected. Swimmer’s ear seems to be a combination of factors. Warm humid air, warm water, length of time exposed to water, the natural enzymatic activity in the ear canal and the presence of bacteria are factors that predispose the ear to swimmer’s ear.

MYTH #2: A clear, runny nose is not contagious.

FACT: A clear, runny nose does not necessarily indicate a lack of infection. On the other hand, a colored discharge does not necessarily mean infection. Other symptoms should be considered as well as the length of time the symptoms have been present.

MYTH #3: Going outside with wet hair will cause a cold.

FACT: Wet hair, icy temperatures, and exposed heads don’t cause colds. Only viruses do! Rhinovirus survives better from late spring through early fall, when humidity is high.

MYTH #4: Most colds are caught in the winter.

FACT: Don’t let the name fool you– most “colds” are caught in the spring and the fall. The virus which causes colds becomes largely dormant in the winter.

MYTH #5: Sudden changes in temperature or getting caught in the rain will cause colds.

FACT: If one becomes ill after experiencing these weather conditions, Dr. Payne believes the illness and the weather are just a coincidence. Viruses cause colds, not the weather.   However, Dr. Payne does agree changes in weather conditions may cause allergies to flare up. Sneezing and runny noses lasting a few days are indications of an allergic reaction; colds last about 1-2 days.

Portions of this article have been reprinted with permission from Parentimes Magazine.

16
Jan

Swimming and Asthma

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Parents of children with asthma may worry that their child will not get enough physical activity. Academic and scientific studies have shown that getting regular exercise and living a healthy lifestyle may help asthmatics keep their asthma under control.

Many have found that swimming provides them with an exercise option that enables them to stay active year-round. Swimming is considered low asthmogenicity, in other words, the risk of an asthma attack while swimming is lower than other forms of exercise.

Why is swimming a great option for people with asthma? The Asthma and Allergy Foundation recommends swimming because the warm, moist air found in indoor swimming environments may improve asthmatics ability to breathe during exercise. Dry, cold air can trigger an asthma attack, which can prevent exercise during the winter months.

Due to swimming’s emphasis on breath control, some studies have shown that swimming can increase lung volume in asthmatics, contributing to their overall fitness as well as teaching them beneficial breathing techniques. One study made by Wang Jeng-Shing from the Taipei Medical University indicated that a six week swimming class showed improvements in the symptoms of a group of 30 asthmatic children, aged seven through twelve. The positive effects of horizontal posture in the water has been tested but no results have as of yet been conclusive.

Though it is theorized that chlorine and sweat create a byproduct that may irritate the airway, studies conducted on the relationship between swimming and asthma have produced conflicting results. While it is also true that some studies have suggested that indoor swimming pools might increase children’s risk of childhood asthma, immunology specialist Matthew Rank, M.D. stresses that there is not enough clinical evidence to warrant keeping children away from indoor pools. Having a well-ventilated pool deck as well as rinsing off after each class can lower the risk.

One thing that can be agreed on is that aerobic fitness is beneficial for asthmatics and contributes to their overall health. Dr. Michael Goodman, an epidemiologist, pediatric physician, and teacher at Emory University, conducted a “meta study” wherein he reviewed 25 separate studies that dealt with the effects of indoor swimming on asthma.

“Parents should be worried about lack of exercise in children,” Dr. Goodman said. “This is by far one of the most important public health problems with children. So exercise is important, and exercise with asthmatics is important.”

9
Jan

My Olympic Dreams By Lia Neal

Lia Neal

I went into the Olympic Trials knowing that the top six finishers in the 100 and 200 freestyles make the team. All I had wanted was to slip into that sixth place spot and make the team. My first swim was the 200 freestyle and I let my nerves get the best of me and ended up adding three seconds. I was of course upset but that swim just made me all the more hungry to do well in the 100. I saw the 100 as a chance to redeem myself because I had invested way too much time and energy to let a small hiccup, like being nervous, stand in my way. The 100 freestyle at Trials was the most painful race I have ever swum, but it was also a race that I take the greatest pride in. After touching the wall and seeing that I came in fourth, I immediately began to bawl. I guess I was so emotional because I kept envisioning seeing a “6″ next to my name and the “4″ caught me by surprise. Not only that but I was also fulfilling a dream of mine. I felt like I was still in a dream until I actually arrived in the aquatics arena in London for the Games.

I loved how the US swim team trained together for 2 weeks; one week in Tennessee and the other in Vichy, France. That gave us a lot of time to bond and we all became really close. It was really fun to get to know everyone. The training was a lot of fun and we even had a lot of down time to just chill and be with each other, but all of the tapering was making me anxious and I could not wait to race. Honestly, I’ve never wanted to race so badly in my life. The good thing was that I was going to be swimming the first day of the Games. I was actually completely excited, not nervous. The Olympic Trials were so much more nerve wracking than the actual Olympics because at the Olympics, you’re already on the team. There isn’t any pressure to make the team anymore, your job was just to make sure you give it your all and out-swim the opposing countries.

One of my favorite things was obviously being on the relay. I was so thrilled to lead it off and to finally swim…at the Olympics! After the race was over all I wanted to do was to swim it again. When I was told that I’d be swimming on the night relay, I was over the moon ecstatic. It was such an honor to represent the country, in both the prelims and finals relays, and to stand on the podium was surreal. My other favorite thing was the Olympic Village; it’s amazing to see the best athletes in the world all in one place. It’s like a utopia of really fit people. Other things that made life seem perfect were the constant massages that we would get during training and at the Olympics, 24/7 dining hall, team uniform, becoming great friends with people on the team and learning from each other, and so much more. The experience was invaluable. I am so lucky to have experienced and be a part of something so amazing. People told me it would be an unforgettable experience and I’m here to say that I can vouch for that. It makes all the countless hours of swimming up and down the pool definitely all worth the while.

12
Dec

Nurturing Gross Motor Skills in Earliy Childhood: The Benefits

The term “gross motor” development refers to physical skills that use large body movements. In this context, gross means “large” as opposed to “fine” motor skills, such as gripping a pencil.

For children, every day is an opportunity to grow, master, and refine the many physical skills that we, as adults, no longer even think about. Strength, balance, and coordination must all be developed through repetition and intense periods of concentration to which children are naturally inclined. You have probably observed this behavior in your child: climbing on furniture, reaching up to pull items off the counter, jumping off the stairs– not always ideal in terms of safety. The best way we can facilitate this natural process is to provide rich and safe environments for children to explore their abilities and push the boundaries of their gross motor skills. Structured, stimulating classes (such as swimming!) provide a perfect outlet for their growing bodies to move!

Recent studies have indicated that our brains go through critical periods of development as we grow older. While these so called “windows of opportunity” do not slam shut at any certain age, they certainly narrow as we grow up. With regards to gross motor skills, the critical period of development seems to take place between the prenatal period and the age of five. These are the years in which experience is vital to laying the “foundation” of brain circuits connected to motor control. Where it was once understood that we were born with complete “wiring”, it is now the view that while we are born with certain fundamental circuits (for breathing, heartbeat, reflexes), the rest of the brain’s pathways are determined by experience. These connections are made only through experiences and stimulation from the environment.

Early experiences lay the groundwork for lifelong learning and behavior. Taking full advantage of this explosion of brain development that takes place during these early years will continue to benefit your child for years to come.

References:

Optimizing Early Brain and Motor Development through Movement. Carl Gabbard, Ed.D., and Luis Rodriguez.

Physical Nurturing: Gross Motor Activities in Early Childhood. Angela Oswalt, MSW, Natalie Staats Reiss, Ph.D and Mark Dombeck, Ph.D

10
Dec

How Swimming Shaped my Life by Stanley Wong

Lia Neal (Bronze Medalist 2012), Catherine Fox (Gold Medalist 1996), Columbia Swimmer Stanley Wong

Lia Neal (Bronze Medalist 2012), Catherine Fox (Gold Medalist 1996), Columbia Swimmer Stanley Wong

For the past ten years, swimming has been a huge part of my life; it, in a very distinct way, defines me. It shapes me: my character, my personality, and my outlook. Olympic swimmers may make the sport look incredibly easy, but most people are unaware of the time and work that must be dedicated day in and day out to achieve great success among thousands of competitors across the nation. Between double practices, dry-land workouts, and weekend swim meets, I find myself lacking free time to do anything other than studying and homework; the amount of sacrifices taken seem innumerable.

I remember one particular summer, when my friends and I had planned on renting out a beach house for a week to relax and hang out. I had to give up that opportunity–something otherwise very doable–in order to maintain consistency in my training so as not to lose the stamina and strength that I have developed in the prior months of training. If swimming is such a time consuming lifestyle, then what is it that makes me enjoy it? What is it that makes me continually aspire to become a better swimmer?

Swimming is not without its benefits. It keeps me on a tight schedule, which helps me make decisions catering to productivity in other aspects of my life, and especially in managing my time. I have to ensure that I get a sufficient amount of sleep each day so that I can perform my best in both the classroom and the pool. As a student-athlete, I arrange my schedule each day in order to avoid interfering with mandatory practices. Likewise, I must also acknowledge the necessities: afternoon naps being one among many of them. Honestly, without swimming I would have too much time. I’d perhaps make poor decisions with all the excess hours each day. Surely, I’d be more laid back in completing my work and probably succumb to procrastination. Not only has swimming helped me learn how to manage my time, but it has also helped my mental strength.

Getting out of bed every morning before the sun rises, hours before most of the people around me wake up, takes an extraordinary amount of willpower. There is not a single day where, as I awaken to the obnoxious sound of my loud alarm, I do not wish I could just have one extra hour of sleep. But each morning, I think of my hatred of losing to my competitors. I imagine the feeling of not performing my best at the end of the season. These thoughts give me the strength to rise out of bed ready to take on the demanding challenges of my sport. And as I walk through the cold dawn, I think of my teammates who will soon join me on the pool deck, as they do every day. We all support each other. We all inspire and push each other to our limits and beyond. As a unit, we are able to achieve and excel with a distinct drive that I could only ever experience as a swimmer. Small acts of encouragement echo over the pitter-patter of swimmers training: “good job!” and “come on, we’re almost done!” resonate for the hours we give it our all in the pool. And when one of my teammates encourages me, I get a burst of adrenaline that helps me get through a challenging practice.

The remarkable sense of camaraderie developed through long, grueling hours of training and mutual support helps me gain a tremendous level of confidence. And with this confidence, I stay mentally and physically strong. I stay ready for the next race.

Why do I swim? What keeps me in this sport, year after year? It all lies in a single word: goals. Long term goals. Short term goals. They are the reason I have been swimming for over a decade of my life. They are what keeps me inspired and motivated to become a better swimmer. And whether it is in swimming or in my day-to-day life, I find that it is necessary to know where I want to be and what I want to accomplish. Otherwise, I would be living my life mindlessly. Swimming gives me goals; I always have a unique focus in mind, and I always strive to reach and surpass my goals. And perhaps most importantly, these goals are mine. I don’t swim to impress and satisfy other people. I swim for myself, and my goals are for my self-improvement.  I never say, “I want to win this race because my coach and parents want me to.” And while the support of these people are paramount to my lifestyle as a swimmer, swimming solely for others is not why I genuinely enjoy swimming. I enjoy it because each goal I’ve satisfied serves as a memorable milestone that offers inspiration for the next. And as I look forward to the next goal with the passion I’ve felt for nearly half of my life each day, I will keep on swimming.

24
Jun

Ocean Safety–Rip Currents

Now that is it is officially the summer season, most of you will be heading to the beaches for some fun in the sun. But before that can happen everyone should take a moment to learn about one of the main dangers of swimming in the ocean: rip currents.

A rip current, or riptide, forms when there’s a narrow channel perpendicular to the shore. After waves roll onto the beach, instead of flowing straight back out, they drain into a channel, creating a powerful, fast moving river out to see. People mistake that moderate tugging at your feet and legs, as a strong undertow, which is not the case. Rip currents flow from sand to surface in one direction. They’re easy to spot from the beach. Look for a choppy, sometimes sandy swath of water (about 10-20 feet wide) that runs from shore to sea and stays relatively flat as waves roll in on either side of it.

If you’re caught in the tide there are two very important rules to follow: Don’t panic and don’t fight it. Even the strongest swimmer can’t swim against a rip current for long. So relax the current will not pull you under. Take a second, and swim parallel to the beach for a few minutes. Once you’re free, turn and swim back to shore.

Another important thing to take into account is which way the sweep is going that day. Sweep is defined as a flow of water parallel to shore caused by wave action at an ocean beach or at a point or headland. Basically it is the direction of the ocean current, meaning which direction you will float down the beach as you swim. If you can’t figure it out on your own you can simply ask the lifeguard which direction it is. The reason this is important to know is because you should exit the rip in the direction of the sweep. That way once you’re out and swimming to the shore you continue to drift away from the rip.

 

Here is a picture to help as well as a picture of an actual rip in the ocean:

To insure that each trip to the beach is a fun and safe one, it is important to remember a couple of things: Always swim near a lifeguard, know the conditions of the water, never swim alone, know your limits, and if you do get in trouble don’t panic stay afloat and call to the guard for help.

7
Jun

Ocean Safety–Rip Currents

Rip Currents

Now that is it is officially the summer season, most of you will be heading to the beaches for some fun in the sun. But before that can happen everyone should take a moment to learn about one of the main dangers of swimming in the ocean: rip currents.

A rip current, or riptide, forms when there’s a narrow channel perpendicular to the shore. After waves roll onto the beach, instead of flowing straight back out, they drain into a channel, creating a powerful, fast moving river out to see. People mistake that moderate tugging at your feet and legs, as a strong undertow, which is not the case. Rip currents flow from sand to surface in one direction. They’re easy to spot from the beach. Look for a choppy, sometimes sandy swath of water (about 10-20 feet wide) that runs from shore to sea and stays relatively flat as waves roll in on either side of it.

If you’re caught in the tide there are two very important rules to follow: Don’t panic and don’t fight it. Even the strongest swimmer can’t swim against a rip current for long. So relax the current will not pull you under. Take a second, and swim parallel to the beach for a few minutes. Once you’re free, turn and swim back to shore.

Another important thing to take into account is which way the sweep is going that day. Sweep is defined as a flow of water parallel to shore caused by wave action at an ocean beach or at a point or headland. Basically it is the direction of the ocean current, meaning which direction you will float down the beach as you swim. If you can’t figure it out on your own you can simply ask the lifeguard which direction it is. The reason this is important to know is because you should exit the rip in the direction of the sweep. That way once you’re out and swimming to the shore you continue to drift away from the rip.

 

Here is a picture to help as well as a picture of an actual rip in the ocean:

 

            To insure that each trip to the beach is a fun and safe one, it is important to remember a couple of things: Always swim near a lifeguard, know the conditions of the water, never swim alone, know your limits, and if you do get in trouble don’t panic stay afloat and call to the guard for help.

27
Jan

Swim classes canceled today!

Due to last night’s snow storm SwimJim’s classes are canceled today 1/27/2011.

The office will still be open.

Stay warm out there and have a great day!

20
Jan

Oprah Campaign

Oprah Campaign

NDPA Requests Members to Participate in the “Oprah Campaign”
January 2011
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Greetings!

 

The Swim For Life Foundation, NDPA, the U.S. Swim School Association and other drowning prevention organizations are campaigning to have the drowning epidemic in America highlighted on the Oprah Winfrey Show during this, her last season.  It is our hope that drowning prevention will be impacted by the ‘Oprah Effect’.  In order to make this happen YOU will have to participate!

 

GOAL:  Saturation. Let’s give Oprah 10,000 e-mails and/or letters with our plea.

TIME:  Send your emails and/or letters between January 24-February 14


HOW:

  • Use the letter link below or the pre-written email text to contact The Oprah Winfrey Show (letters and contact information below)
  • Enlist your staff to do the same
  • Promote this campaign within your swim school, underscore your lifesaving message and have your customers send the email and letter, too
  • Recruit as many people as you can; family, friends, facebook friends, etc.  This is for anyone involved in drowning prevention, aquatics, or water safety.
  • Post this message on Facebook and Twitter

1.   To submit electronically:

Follow this link to submit Show Ideas: https://www.oprah.com/ownshow/plug_form.html?plug_id=216


Use the text below to fill in the “Your Message” box.  Be sure to leave America’s Drowning Epidemic as your first line.

 

 

America’s Drowning Epidemic

Please highlight the vital topic of water safety and drowning prevention on the Oprah Show while it still airs on a national network.  Every day an average of 10 people die from drowning in this country, most of these victims are under the age of 14, male and minority.  58% of African American children and 56% of Hispanic children don’t know how to swim and neither do their parents.  Every year, nearly 3500 people drown nationwide. Doesn’t that deserve some national attention? Check out this fact sheet for confirmation from the CDC on the incidence of drowning in America.

The Center for Disease Control Unintentional Drowning Fact Sheet

http://www.cdc.gov/HomeandRecreationalSafety/Water-Safety/waterinjuries-factsheet.html

 

Alloting a portion of your show to this critically important topic could have a significant impact on these harrowing statistics. There are so many myths to be dispelled about how, when and where people drown. Please use your voice to save and educate millions of people.

 

 

Or 2.  To submit via mail click on this link and copy letter

 

This a great chance to get our message heard. Remember, there is power in numbers. Let the Oprah Campaign begin!

 

Sincerely

 

Kristin Goffman

NDPA Executive Director