Have you ever enjoyed the relaxation of a long bath or soak in a hot tub, only to find your skin wrinkled and pruned once you get out? Maybe you’ve experienced the utter exhaustion after a day of playing at the beach or splashing around at a pool party. While these side effects are virtually harmless and natural for all humans, you might be surprised to learn the science behind this pruney problem.
It is important to remember that your skin is actually waterproof! Think about it: your skin doesn’t soak up the water like a sponge when you get out of the shower or tub – instead you use a towel to whisk away the moisture on your skin. To talk more scientifically, the sebaceous glands in your skin produce an oil called sebum (SEE-bum) that acts effectively as water-proofing while also lubricating and protecting your skin. We tend to think of ourselves as walled off under our skin but it is actually this sebum that keeps us from bloating up with water every time we get into the pool.
When determining what factors contribute to dish-pan-hands, we must turn to the concept of osmosis. After soaking in the tub or pool for an extended amount of time, your skin loses the protectiveness of the sebum layer, becoming more porous and prone to water exposure. After some time submerged in a body of water, the dead cells on your skin’s outer layer start absorbing water, which causes them to swell. This swelling causes the outer layer of skin to stretch, but because it’s still attached to the tight layers of skin beneath the surface, the expanded outer layer is forced to wrinkle.
Though osmosis undoubtedly plays a role in post-water wrinkles, scientists believe that this spontaneous reflex is mostly the result of human evolution. As explained by the Scientific American, several laboratory tests indicate that wrinkly fingers help improve our grip on wet or submerged objects. This natural occurrence channels water away from fingers and toes during wet conditions, which helped our ancestors maintain tighter grips while gathering food from wet vegetation or streams.
Mark Changizi, an evolutionary neurobiologist, found that not only are the wrinkles strategically placed, but that this pattern helped drain the skin’s water away from the fingertips to help provide a drainage network that ultimately improved grip. He conducted a study in which participants picked up wet or dry objects, like different sized marbles with normal hands or with fingers that had been soaked in water for 30 minutes. The results were fascinating: the subjects with wet, wrinkled fingers were able to pick up the marbles much faster than those with dry hands.
Oddly enough, wrinkles typically don’t appear until you’ve been submerged in water for at least five minutes. This means that intermittent contact with water isn’t enough to prompt this unique response. Furthermore, it takes significantly less time to wrinkle in freshwater than it does in seawater.
In fact, it’s very rare that you will ever leave seawater pruny and water-logged. Why? Well, it goes back to osmosis. When you are in a pool, the salt concentrations of H2O in your skin are higher and so the water from outside goes in. Well, when in the ocean, the salt content in the seawater is much higher and therefore draws the water in your skin, after the sebum has rubbed off, out into the ocean. Can you imagine? Your body trying to equalize the salt content of the ocean? That’s a lot of water to give off.
This highlights the important fact that should be remembered in the Summer when you are making a trip to the beach. If osmosis is working against you in salt water (taking water from your skin cells), then you need to counteract this by drinking extra water or a drink like Gatorade that is full of electrolytes. Doctors suggest about 8 cups of water a day, more if you are going to be active. We suggest 15 cups of water to drink during a day you’re spending at the beach, which is roughly equivalent to about 10 cans of soda. This might seem a lot but just remember that with the combination of that sun beating down on you, and the salt water sapping H2O from you, it’s crucial that you stay hydrated while having fun in the surf and sun!
The fall and winter are approaching fast. This means that less people are swimming, which means it’s the best time to get your children into swimming lessons. Until the fall/winter blues fade away into summer, we’ve created a fun & informative video to teach about how to keep your child safe near water.
These lessons are not just for children, but for parents that are watching their children swim.
Feel free to share it with your friends!
With Michael Phelps announcing his retirement from the sport of swimming, he’s had a luscious career. Now the question is, how well have you followed his career? Do you think you know everything about this Olympic athlete? Test your knowledge below!
You know what they say, there’s always room for improvement. Do you know how to become a better swimmer? Whether you are 4 years old or 40, following these tips will help you become a better swimmer.
With swimmers ruling the pool at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janiero, many viewers are starting to wonder: “what makes these athletes such outstanding superstars?” You might be surprised to learn that the habits of many of the world’s top swimmers transcend country or ethnicity. Instead, these habits simply reflect the distinct, eccentric lifestyle that only those who swim competitively can truly understand.
However, by highlighting 10 of these common trends amongst world-renowned swimmers, you’ll be able to gain a behind the scenes look into what quirky habits make these super-athletes so unique.
One noticeable habit of Olympic swimmers is the amount of daily food consumption. While the average adult should consume around 2,000 calories daily, professional athletes – and swimmers in particular – need significantly more than that. Decorated Olympians Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte both claim to eat around 10,000 calories each day during training season and rave about the much talked-about “carbo-loading” before big competitions.
Olympic swimmers have more practices than there are days in the week, typically logging at least 10 workouts throughout seven days. Many of these practices are held in the wee hours of the morning. Take 19-year-old superstar Katie Ledecky, for example; on a daily basis she wakes up at 4 a.m. in order to be in the water and ready for practice which runs from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. Like Ledecky, most Olympic swimmers wake up long before the sun, which makes it nearly impossible to sleep in – even on the rare days-off.
Unlike many of their Olympic constituents, swimmers typically don’t have the time – or energy – to dry their hair. With just mere hours between practices, most swimmers don’t find purpose in drying their hair regardless of freezing temperatures or daily demands. Furthermore, after hours of training, weightlifting, and dryland exercises, the idea of lifting and holding a hair dryer for several minutes seems virtually impossible.
In the pool, Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps are each other’s greatest competitors. Outside of the pool, however, the two thrive as friends of more than 12 years. Like Lochte and Phelps, competitive swimmer stick together. Just as dolphins and whales travel in pods, swimmers frequently hang in groups making mealtime, workout time, and even downtime a team event.
During training season, Olympic swimmers can often be seen creating as much drag as possible. To them, the equation is simple: stroke length, combined with stroke rate, results in faster speed. In order to capitalize on every single stroke, swimmers train with things like water parachutes and bungee cords to add resistance and help improve the overall effectiveness of their stroke.
For Olympic swimmers, being clean-shaven is a luxury that only exists once or twice a year. As previously mentioned, swimmers strive to create drag in every aspect of their training, and that includes even the most microscopic hairs that cover the body. Men grow beards that could make lumberjacks cry and girls frequently sport “leg-sweaters.” Olympic swimmers typically shed their “training layer” the night before Olympic Trials to reduce drag and capitalize on speed.
Watch Olympic swimmers file out before a race and you might assume you’re about to watch a skiing competition rather than a swimming event. With multiple winter coats, hoods, hats, and even gloves, these swimmers look like they’re preparing for a pending blizzard. However, these warm layers are donned to keep swimmers warm and muscles loose. What television doesn’t broadcast is that these Olympic athletes have already swam thousands of meters to warm up and get their muscles ready to race. By bundling up, swimmers can avoid cold, stiff muscles which ultimately result in slow swimming.
Often times before racing, many swimmers squat by the edge of the pool and violently splash themselves with that cold, chlorine-y goodness. This habit might seem odd considering their excessive efforts to keep themselves warm prior to race time and the reasoning behind the tradition varies. Some professionals claim it’s a measure they take to keep their suit in place, while others say it’s simply part of their pre-race routine. Others splash themselves in an effort to “wake up” their muscles and jolt themselves into race-mode.
Non-swimmers are quick to point out the unique fragrance that seems to encompass competitive swimmers: chlorine. But after spending nearly 40 hours a week in the pool, soaking in the chlorine chemicals, this scent is seemingly impossible for Olympic swimmers to thwart. Furthermore, many professional swimmers don’t admit to showering as frequently as they should during training season simply because they find no point in wasting time (that could be spent eating or sleeping) washing off the same pool water that they’ll be back in in less than 12 hours.
After spending four hours a day in a restricting, skin-tight swimsuit, the last thing Olympic swimmers want to do is don tight-fitting clothing. Perhaps this is why many swimmers can be seen wearing sweatpants, sweatshirts, and other comfortable clothing. In fact, many professional swimmers admit that “dressing up” means wearing leggings. Furthermore, these fit, muscular swimmers also have an unnatural ability to know what clothing will fit their broad shoulders and strong arms, and what items won’t.
Learn how to swim like an Olympic athlete and adopt these quirky habits for yourself by clicking HERE.
I am Gilbert Guppy and I am here to talk to you about Safer Response. As you’ve already heard from my buddy Sammy the Starfish, you know that it is impossible to eliminate all the dangers in the water, so what do you do if the unexpected does happen?
Before you go swimming, it is vitally important to have a water safety response plan in place. Some important steps for a water safety plan include:
Don’t forget: Reach or Throw, Don’t Go. Let Someone Know! This is behavior that anyone can practice for a safer response if there is an emergency in the water. Emphasis that you should find help first. You can help the person in trouble by finding a long stick, noodle, rope or shepherds hook, lay on your stomach and try to reach for them so that you can safely pull them to safety, or throw any sort of water flotation device to them to grab on. It is important that you do not try jumping in to help the person in the water. Even if you can swim! Rescues should be left to people trained in water to do so.
It is never too late to learn lifesaving water safety skills. Please follow the link below to the American Red Cross to find opportunities to take classes on things like CPR and first aid.
The American Red Cross: redcross.org
Thank you for taking the time to talk with me about Safer Response!
Allow me to introduce myself! I am Sammy the Starfish and I am stuck on Safer Water!
For water dwelling folks like me, it’s wonderful that we live in a world so abundant with water, but for you land living fellows, water can be dangerous! Just like the my danger out of water cannot be totally eliminated, for you, the dangers in the water can never be totally eliminated, but we can make the water safer.
I am sure some of you are thinking, how can I make water safer? Well, just consider and follow the steps below and you too can be a star of Safer Water!
Step one is to identify a safety issue. Take a moment, find some nice wall to stick to and think about all the places water can be found around you. Oceans and pools to be sure, but also bath tubs, sinks, even buckets can provide a danger to some of you little humans. Once you can identify the risk, you can also take steps to minimize the danger.
Be sure to provide barriers, fences, and restricted access to the larger bodies of water. It is very important to stick to these rules. It is difficult to remain vigilant all the time. As someone can drown in as little as 5 minutes, limiting access to the water can mean the difference between life and death.
There is more to identifying dangers than simply recognizing areas of water that could pose a risk. You must also determine what risks are specific to that body of water.
As you can imagine, I spend a lot of time in the ocean, so I am well aware of rip tides, strong surf, and currents. Being familiar with how water can behave in the ocean is something every SwimKid should know. Did you know: The best way to deal with a rip tide is not to swim directly back to shore, but to swim parallel to the shore, gradually swimming diagonally back towards the beach?
Last but not least, let me bring up another star you should know; your water watcher or life guard! Always make sure to swim in a supervised area. As I said, not all of us are lucky enough to be a fish let alone also a star. Even the best swimmers are not free of the dangers of the water. Having someone educated in water safety on hand, watching the water and ready to help is an absolute must. But Safer Response is not really my area of expertise. For that, I will turn you over the the capable fins of Gilbert Guppy!
As always, I am Sammy Starfish reminding you that for Safer Water, look to the Star!