Keeping Warm in Cool Water

A regular complaint I hear is that the water is too cold yet most people exercising in water do not wear proper thermal clothing.

As I sit at my desk with a wind chill of 19 Fahrenheit or equivalent minus 7.2 Celsius, I realize that I have three top layers and two layers of bottoms and I am still chilly.

Similarly with water training a layered approach is the best. You may always take off a layer or two if you are too warm but when you start and stay cool -this is typically not pleasurable.  Wearing clothing will keep you warmer and for those without a lot of muscle mass to heat the body up or little body fat to insulate – clothing will make all the difference in a cooler pool.

 Few people enjoy being cold during a workout, which is why thermal regulation may be the most important consideration when trying to attract and maintain new clients to a pool program. Thermal regulation is the ability to maintain the body’s core temperature based on external factors such as the temperature of the air and water, the client’s clothing, body composition, medication and hydration level.

To help clients stay warm (and happy) we should encourage participants to dress or layer clothes to stay warm. Thermal clothing will help clients stay comfortable in the water so that they may enjoy and more importantly, complete their program. They may add a thermal neoprene vest or 100% polyester shirt, tights or short pants. Vests should be snug as if it is your second skin. Ideally, the vest should fit with a 1-2 inch gap and be pulled tight with a zipper. Keeping clothing tight is key because the hydrostatic pressure of the water “shrinks” the body when submerged by a few inches. Note you may even layer long sleeves and long tights in addition to the thermal vest. WaterART offers custom vests (any color or pattern) as well as our standard blue vest


These fabrics dry quickly and resist odour because of the built-in ventilation. Always rinse clothing submerged in chemicals using a little soap. Hang everything to dry or gentle tumble dry on low heat for a few minutes. Never leave wet pool items in a plastic bag as they do go mouldy without ventilation. Carry wet clothing in a recyclable net bag so fabric may breathe properly.