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2018.07.03 - Swimming pool or natural water? /The pros and cons of.../

Swimming pool or natural water? /The pros and cons of.../

There is nothing surprising about one wanting to go to the beach or the swimming pool in the summer heat. Some people like natural water, while others prefer the swimming pools in the city. No matter which category you belong to, try to pay attention the following…


1) Water quality

One of the most important requirements from a beach or swimming pool is to have excellent water quality. We are glad to report that water quality has improved greatly in the last decades in both Hungary and all over Europe, be it natural water or the swimming pool. This also has to do with the technological development in the field of vacuum heads, and with the fact that these days environmental regulations are taken much more seriously than in the middle of the 20th century. The water of seas, lakes and rivers has improved a lot thanks to the decline of heavy industries and due to sewer systems built in the majority of towns and villages.  

In Hungary the National Public Health and Medical Officer Service (ÁNTSZ) regularly checks the water quality of beaches and swimming pools, and ‘recommends’ measures if something doesn’t comply with the rules. What is more, the inspection results are published regularly, so everyone can find information about the water quality of the beach or swimming pool they would like to visit. ÁNTSZ differentiates between four categories: excellent, good, tolerable bad.

We can also do a lot for the water quality of a beach or swimming pool, as by observing some basic hygiene rules we can prevent the water from becoming dirty. Always take a shower before going in the water, never swim in natural water with suntan lotion freshly put on and don’t go to the swimming pool if you are suffering from some kind of contagious disease!  

2) Chlorine

When deciding where it is better to bathe, in natural water or the swimming pool, first and foremost we must decide how much chlorine bothers us; chlorine is the material used by swimming pools to disinfect the water in the pools. Chlorine is irritating material that can make the skin and the eyes itchy. It also dehydrates the skin and with this it decreases its ability to protect itself. Swimming pools follow strict rules as regards the quantity of chlorine used for disinfecting, but it can happen that the average chlorine content of the water is too much for someone and they will have skin complaints. Similar skin problems can also occur when not enough disinfectant is used and certain fungi and bacteria proliferate in the water, causing inflammation of the skin or the eyes.   

In natural water we can always find the representatives of the flora and fauna, plus the chemical materials resulting from their presence, therefore the water is never as transparent as in a swimming pool. If the natural water is in a balanced state, these aren’t harmful to the human body; on the contrary, they can often be beneficial for the skin. For instance in the water of certain alkaline lakes iodine-accumulating algae are living, which makes the water reddish – this mightn’t look inviting, but is actually very healthy. The water of swimming pools filled with thermal or medicinal water isn’t transparent or colourless either.

Because of their size natural waters warm up slower in the summer heat, ecologically they are more stable, but if the weather is really hot for a long period of time, the water temperature increases and then it is time to head to the swimming pool, where the good old chlorine solves problems... 


3) Safety

There are beaches by natural waters with lifeguards and buoys, but there are people who are attracted by even more natural environment, so they decide to bathe not on these designated beaches, which is rather dangerous. Every summer we hear the news that children or adults have drowned and in most cases these sad events occur in natural water. Rivers can be especially dangerous. Often good swimmers can end up in dangerous situations when bathing in natural water. From this perspective the swimming pool is a much better option, because both children and adults are in front of watching eyes all the time and if something goes wrong, the lifeguard is there in seconds and solves the problem.    


4) Services

For a long time it was swimming pools that offered more kinds of fun and a higher level of service. The whole environment was tidier, there was no water slide, playground or restaurant (or only a retro-style one) on the beach. All of this has changed by now. Many lakeside beaches offer a wide range of high-level services. The beach is clean and tidy, and it is good to see that they also pay attention to small details, such as installing sun shades above the playground so that the little ones can use them without getting their skin burnt. It is especially the beaches around Lake Balaton that have made great progress in this respect, but there are lakeside beaches in other parts of the country that also have pools if that is what guests want. 

5) Distance

Yes, this is an important factor, too, very often it is the most important one. It feels great to swim or sunbathe a little after – or before – work. In these situations we don’t like to drive or pedal for hours, let alone taking the bus. Why should going to the beach or the swimming pool turn into an expedition?! Let’s go to the nearest water and jump in at once! This is the time when it doesn’t really matter whether this water is in a pool or a lake, river, etc. Some run to the river if it is closer or pay a visit to the swimming pool on the way home from work, and there are those who plunge into the water of the small lake just outside the village at the end of the day…