In winter or on a rainy day, an indoor pool can be just the way to get moving and to get your heart pumping. However, common chemicals in pool water that can get more concentrated indoors may make it harder on your lungs.
“The main concern with indoor pools is the chlorine, which is used as a disinfecting agent,” according to pulmonologist Rachel Taliercio, DO. While it’s important to keep harmful bacteria under control, it can be potentially irritating, she says.
Swimming in indoor pools can expose you to higher levels of chlorine in the air and increase your risk for lung-related problems, but the benefits of exercise often will outweigh the risks. It’s important to consider the overall health of your lungs and the amount of exposure. Also, watch for signs of discomfort; if you cough, wheeze or feel your throat burn, take a break.
Overall, competitive swimmers are at greater risk than recreational swimmers, she says. After all, they spend a lot more time in pools than the average person.