Swimming in Winter: The Facts about These Myths

By: Mollie Shauger | Friday, December 27, 2019 | Aquatics

School-age girls and boys smiling poolside. Credit: iStock

While swimming may be associated more with the summer, it’s a life-long skill that can be practiced year-round. Here are some common myths about swimming during the colder months that keep many people away from the pool, despite the physical and mental health benefits that are gained from swimming.

Myth: You can get sick by going outside with wet hair.

Fact: Going outside in the winter with wet hair does not make you sick, medical experts say. Viruses cause common illnesses during the winter months like the common cold and flu. They are spread through contact with people who are sick, not by just being in the cold weather. In fact, you aren’t increasing your risk of getting a cold virus any more than if you went outside in public with dry hair, according to the University of Pennsylvania Health System. Also, swimming can help keep you physically active in the winter, which supports a healthy immune system. 

Myth: You only need to learn to swim in summer.

Fact: Swimming is an important skill to have in the warmer months, when the chances of being in a pool are more frequent, but it’s also beneficial to keep swimming during the winter to retain valuable skills from summer and fall swim lessons. Teaching children to swim helps prepare them to be safer around bodies of water and become more comfortable in the water, and teaches them to float and safely navigate the water. 

Myth: There’s no place to swim in the winter.

Fact: If you’re headed to warmer climates during the winter, there might be an opportunity to swim in the ocean, pool or other body of water. Going to a ski resort or indoor water park? There are plenty of places with indoor pools where your kids will want to put those swimming skils to the test. Drowning can also happen anywhere with standing water, so it’s important that kids have the tools to be safe. Our pools at the YMCA are heated and sheltered from the weather elements, so kids can take swim lessons any time of year, and adults and families can exercise or just swim for pleasure. 


The YMCA offers swimming lessons on a convenient monthly draft schedule. Visit metroymcas.org or your local Y branch for a schedule of swim lessons. Because the Y is for all, financial assistance is available for eligible individuals and families who want to participate in Y programs.


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