Monday, 13 October 2014

3 New Healthy Habits for Summer Swimming

It’s October and here in Brisbane, Australia the weather is definitely starting to heat up, as is the humidity. This is the land of the long hot, sticky, humid summer where the only natural way to escape the heat and cool off, is to go swimming.

So to celebrate the beginning of the hot season, I thought I’d share a few of the new, healthy, habits our family has developed for swimming over the past few years to replace those old, unhealthy habits.

Habit #1 - Avoid All Swimming Pools and Spas.

Several years ago we stopped swimming in chlorinated water. We now only swim in the ocean, and clean creeks, rivers and dams.

Drinking chlorinated water is not good for you as it destroys your healthy gut flora, which is detrimental to your health. There are a lot of excellent research articles out there that supports this statement, so have a good look into it for yourself if you are unsure. But, for the same reason, it is not good to soak your whole body in chlorinated water. Your skin is one large, absorbent organ.

This change was huge for us. I grew up here in Brisbane, Australia where every second house had a swimming pool, or so it seemed. We grew up swimming in pools all summer, with the familiar smell of chlorine in your hair and skin being synonymous with a hot, sticky, summer’s day. We loved swimming. We still do. It has not been an easy change for us, particularly for our children. But as I say to them, how did we ever think that it was a good idea to soak ourselves in chlorine? Why did we never think that would be detrimental to our health? I guess it’s a bit like our culture’s old attitude to smoking cigarettes. At first, no thought it would be a problem, but then after a while, we learned otherwise.

I have learned that chlorine crashes my thyroid and puts my adrenals into overtime. So, this summer, you will find us regularly at the local swimming holes, swinging off ropes, jumping from rocks into deep water and floating down rivers in our blow-up boat and generally having a blast!

Habit #2 - Avoid Immodest Swimwear

This isn’t just about skin protection and skin cancer safety. Everyone in Australia is taught from a very, young age to beware of sunburn for it leads to skin cancer. My issue is not with with this, though this is a good thing. My issue is with modesty. I live in the land of the proud bikini wearer. I live in the land of skimpy swimwear. I think we are very wrong.

Several years ago I stopped wearing bikinis and revealing swimwear, because I was convicted by the Holy Spirit that I was being immodest. Just because I am on a sandy beach or in a swimming environment, doesn’t mean I should reveal to all and sundry what is underneath my clothes every other day of the year. That is to be reserved for my husband. He alone gets to see that. It’s part of the whole marriage deal. I don’t need to be walking around in the equivalent of soft porn attire, forcing other men to choose between lust and looking away. That’s not love. I don’t want that for myself and I certainly don’t want that for my sons and daughter.

So what do we wear? I have chosen to wear swimmers covered by knee-length board shorts and a cotton t-shirt. I like the t-shirt better than the lycra sun-shirts as they are less clingy when wet and last longer. T-shirts seem to give better sun protection in my observation and they are a lot cheaper than the sun-shirts too, so it’s win all round.

Habit #3 - Avoid Chemical-based Sunscreen

For several years now we have been using an organic sunscreen that has no harsh chemicals and is very gentle on the skin. The others just make me itch and rash. I prefer to use a sunscreen where I can recognize all of the ingredients and know that they are safe for my skin and the skin of my family. Let me encourage you to do your homework. There are several options on the market. The skin is a very large organ and as such, needs cherishing.

The sun protection of the organic sunscreen is just as effective we’ve found, though I have to say, we try not to rely on the sunscreens for full sun protection. I would far rather be smart about the times we swam and lessen hot sun exposure, than the alternative of caking myself in sunscreen and swimming in the middle of the day.

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