Be Sun Smart

sun smart

The days are longer and lighter, and that can only mean one thing: it’s time to play outside! Whether you’re headed to the pool (even if it’s in your own backyard), the mountains or a nearby waterpark, make sure you take the time to protect your skin.

Painful burning, skin cancer, and premature aging are all the result of unprotected moments under the sun. To protect yourself from the sun’s damaging rays, consider these tips. Adjust them based on your individual needs, lifestyle, and susceptibilities.

Stay hydrated

You’ve heard the message a thousand times, but there’s good reason – staying hydrated is essential for our overall health. During the summer, it is especially important to stay hydrated before, during and after spending time outdoors. Most individual adults should aim for 64 fluid ounces of water a day. For someone who exercises or works outdoors, this amount should be greater. Most experts agree: Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink – by this time you’re already dehydrated. Drink every 15-20 minutes.

Limit sun exposure

Stay indoors when the sun is at its most intense, usually between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). You are at greater risk of skin damage during this period. If you must be outside during these hours, hang out in a shady spot, or create your own shade using an umbrella. Take precautions even when in the shade.

Apply sunscreen every day

Consumer Reports recommends using sunscreen with an SPF of at least 40 that contains chemical active ingredients such as avobenzone rather than “natural” or mineral active ingredients such as zinc oxide. Only sunscreen with broad-spectrum coverage can shield your skin from UVA and UVB rays, both of which contribute to skin damage. For CR recommended sunscreens, click here.

Liberally apply sunscreen to any exposed skin, including the delicate skin around eyes, face and neck 30 minutes (the amount of time it takes for it to start working) prior to going outdoors. Keep in mind that most products only last for two hours. Make sure to reapply every 1 to 1 ½ hours if you’re going to be out in the sun longer. Always follow manufacturer recommendations.

Don’t forget to accessorize

A wide-brimmed hat can protect the delicate skin around your face, ears and neck, while sunglass protect your eyes and prevent cataracts. Wear sunglasses with both UVA and UVB protection. Make sure to still apply sunscreen even when accessorizing.

Don’t let cloudy days fool you

By now, you know the importance of applying sunscreen on sunny days, but did you know that 80% of all UVA rays can penetrate cloud cover? With their longer wavelengths, UVA rays can pass through clouds and glass, penetrating the dermal layers of your skin and affecting the epidermal layers where wrinkles are formed.

Beat the Heat by the Pool this Summer

beat the heat

Don’t let the hot weather discourage you from enjoying the season. Instead, take advantage of this Arizona heat by going for a refreshing swim, either in your own backyard or by visiting one of the following venues.

After all, swimming provides countless benefits for both you and your children, including improving muscle definition and strength, building bone mass, reducing inflammation, decreasing stress, and burning calories.

Here are some venues to visit to beat the heat this summer.

Water Parks

Arizona is fortunate to be home to several water parks. Locals and visitors alike line up to get into Big Surf Waterpark. In operation since 1969, it is home of the United States’ first wave pool, which has been featured in many popular films including Just One of the Guys (1985) and Storm of the Century (1999). It is located in Tempe just off the 202 Red Mountain and McClintock Drive.

Also on the east side of town, you’ll find Mesa Golfland-Sunsplash, Arizona’s premier family fun destination. It features 30 exciting rides and attractions from thrilling waterslides to award winning miniature golf. On the west side of town is Wet-n-Wild, a massive 25-acre family water park tucked away in far north Phoenix. You can sometimes find discount ticket prices for these parks at Costco or through Groupon.

Public Aquatic Centers

The Valley has its share of community pools scattered throughout its many neighborhoods. The best part? They’re affordable! Swimming lessons, merit badge classes, and lifeguard training (junior and adult) are available at many city pools. Some of also available for private parties and corporate events. Visit any of the following links for additional information, including pool locations, hours of operation and amenities.

City of Apache Junction

Superstition Shadows Aquatic Center

1091 W. Southern Ave.

Apache Junction, AZ 85120

  • $1.50 admission for children (17 and younger)
  • $2.50 admission for adults (18 and over)

City of Chandler

Admission fees for all City of Chandler pools

  • $1.00 for children (2-17 years)
  • $2.25 for adults (18-54 years)
  • $1.25 for seniors (55 years and older)

Each of Chandler’s six public pools also feature weekly $1.00 family swim nights and free swim nights.

City of Gilbert

Admission fees for all City of Gilbert pools

  • $1.00 for children (17 and younger)
  • $3.00 for adults (18 and older)

City of Mesa

Admission fees for all City of Mesa Pools

  • Free for children under 6 months of age
  • $2.00 for children (17 and younger)
  • $4.00 for adults (18 and older)

City of Tempe

Admission fees for City of Tempe Pools vary, please visit their website for exact prices.

City of Phoenix

Admission Fees for all City of Phoenix Pools

  • $1.00 for kids (some city pools are offering free admission for children thanks to the Kool Kids program)
  • $3.00 for adults
  • $1.00 for seniors

Planning a Summer Pool Party

summer pool party

With temperatures rising throughout Arizona, one activity most people can’t live without is slipping into their swimsuits, and taking a dip in the cool blue waters of a swimming pool.

The only thing that beats diving in on a hot day is a summer pool party. There’s nothing like inviting some friends over, eating some amazing food, and lounging poolside. We have some great suggestions for invitations, decorations, food, games and of course, music.

Invites

Looking for a way to really wow your friends and family? Write your summer pool party details on an inflatable float or beach ball using a sharpie. You can choose any color sharpie you’d like. Be sure not to smudge the ink. For detailed instructions, click here.

Menu

No summer pool party would be complete without everyone’s summer favorites: burgers and hot dogs hot off the grill. Sandwiches, sliders, and chicken and pineapple kabobs are all low-maintenance options. Also, a refreshing snack, sliced watermelon. Don’t forget desert; perhaps a mixed berry cobbler or classic strawberry shortcake? Be sure to have lots of bottled water available to help your guests stay hydrated.

Activities

For fun activities that are family friendly, set up a few lawn games, such as Twister, Tic Tac Toe Frisbee and Jumbo Jenga. A quick Pinterest search will yield many other fun games. Additionally, a pool party can never have too many pool floats or pool noodles for guests to float around on, especially if there are children in attendance.

Decorations

If you’re hosting the party by the pool, be sure to set up a shady area or two for guests who prefer to relax in the shade. Add color to your pool by throwing in some balloons. With a little imagination, you can also create mini beach ball garland using paint, nylon string and Styrofoam balls. Get the tutorial here.

Songs for Summer

  • Firework by Katy Perry
  • School’s Out by Alice Cooper
  • Summer in the City by the Lovin’ Spoonful

Labor Day Backyard Bash

labor day backyard bash

Image Courtesy of Pixabay

Labor Day may indeed by the official end of summer, but that doesn’t mean you can’t soak up the last days of summer with one last backyard bash.

Labor Day, observed Monday, September 5, 2016, is a holiday devoted to honoring American workers and their contributions to the strength and well-being of our country. For most of us, Labor Day also means a day off from work and with school already back in session, the unofficial end of summer.

There’s a lot to celebrate about this Labor Day including American workers, the end of summer, and a new school year. So before you press the send button on summer, fire up the grill, throw some noodles into the pool, and invite your friends and family over for an enjoyable Labor Day Backyard Bash.

Here’s what you need to do for a memorable Labor Day Backyard Bash.

Send Invitations in Advance. With Labor Day just around the corner, literally, you’ll want to send invitations out via email or social media for the fastest response. It’s always a good idea to get a final head count at least a week before any event; but three days will suffice when you’re short on time.

Plan Your Menu. Labor Day is a great day for grilled hamburgers, hotdogs, and ribs served up with classic favorites such as potato and fruit salads. Don’t forget the chips and sodas/bottled waters. Need inspiration? Search Pinterest for “Labor Day party recipes”. Plan your menu in advance according to your tastes and budget. Prepare salads and marinades a day in advance.

Plan Fun Pool Games. Set up your volleyball and/or basketball hoop for lively fun. Plan to play games like Marco Polo, Watermelon Push Relays, Lap Races, and more. You might be surprised to find the adults having just as much fun, if not more, playing these games as the kids. For more pool game inspiration be sure and check out Pinterest.

Make Sure Your Pool is Swim Ready. Before your guests arrive, it’s a good idea to check your pool’s chemical levels, and run its filter for eight hours (this is something you should already be doing daily). After the party simply brush or vacuum your pool, add chlorine, and clean your filter to prevent the algae growth.

Sunburn Prevention

sunburn prevention

Ah, summer! You’ve waited all year to dive into a summer of swimming fun. Before diving in; however, you’ll want to make sure to protect your skin from the sun. A common problem during the summer months – especially in Arizona, which is already breaking records – sunburn can cause skin to become tender, red and scaly (the latter happens as it heals). Sunburn can also cause long-term damage.

Sunscreen Minimizes Risk of Sunburn

Have you ever wondered how sunscreen works? In a nut shell, sunscreen protects your skin by absorbing and/or reflecting UVA and UVB radiation from the sun. Sunscreen, also commonly referred to as sunblock, is rated by a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) number. The higher the number, the stronger the protection. It is now possible to find sunscreen with an SPF of 70 or higher.

There are many protective ingredients in sunscreen, which fits broadly into two groups: organic and inorganic. Organic sunscreen takes advantage of the first law of thermodynamics by absorbing ultraviolet rays before they harm the skin. Inorganic sunscreen, on the other hand, works by reflecting ultraviolet rays away from the skin. “Broad spectrum” provides protection from both UVA and UVB rays.

The length of time a user can reasonably expect sunscreen to protect varies depending on which outdoor activities the user will be partaking in that day. For the best protection, reapply sunscreen approximately every two hours (yes, even on cloudy days), and after swimming or getting wet. The general recommendation from the American Academy of Dermatology is to use a sunscreen with a SPF of 30 or higher.

Other Ways to Prevent Sunburn

  1. Seek shade when appropriate. The sun’s rays are strongest between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., according to the Sun Safety Alliance.
  2. Wear lightweight, protective clothing. Moisture-wicking athletic wear with UV protection is a good choice.
  3. Generously apply broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen. It is now possible to find sunscreen with an SPF of 70 or higher.

Swimming… Benefits for Asthmatic Individuals!

Platinum Pools

In The Swim: Blog

There is a huge number of people who use swimming as their main form of exercise. It’s easy on the joints, and fun to do! For individuals with asthma, you can assume that a physical exercise, like swimming, could be detrimental to an individuals health. Something that requires intentional and controlled breathing, seems like a terrible idea for someone who deals with asthmatic troubles.

Although, interestingly enough, there are no studies that have proven that swimming causes issues for someone with asthma. Which is good news! In fact, the warm and humid atmosphere can actually help improve and ease breathing troubles. Swimming is one of our favorite forms of exercise, but the general rule is, ANY exercise is ideal! It can help with several areas, such as sleep, energy, and most importantly, respiratory and circulatory systems. Backyardpool

Typically, swimming is not linked to triggering asthma attacks. The natural moister in the air, from the pool, makes it easier to breathe, compared to other land-based activities. Obviously, we advise you to take caution while using swimming as your form of exercise. We recommend being very careful about the pH and chlorine levels. This can cause breathing issues, if there isn’t a proper balance.

Let us help you improve your exercise life, and your home aesthetics, by walking you through the process of installing a new pool. For any other questions, you can contact us at: PLATINUM POOLS AZ or call us at: (480) 888-9200

Teaching Children Swim Strokes

teach basic swim strokesIn a couple of years, we will all be watching countries competing against each other in a variety of swim competitions for the 2016 Summer Olympics. So now is a perfect time to start teaching your children basic swim strokes to help them understand what happens in swim competitions as well as provide a great way to exercise and become stronger swimmers. There are four basic swim strokes to teach your children.

The Crawl, or Freestyle
This is the most popular swim stroke that most of us are use to. Basically, you float belly-down while propelling yourself by moving your arms in a windmill pattern and simultaneously kicking your legs in a fluttering motion. The challenge of this technique is developing a breathing pattern by turning your head to the side occasionally between strokes.

The Backstroke
One advantage of the backstroke is that your face is not in the water. On the other hand, it’s hard to see where you are going! Floating on your back, you propel yourself using a similar windmill motion as the crawl, just in reverse, as well as kicking your legs in a fluttering motion. The challenge here is propelling yourself with equal force from each arm to keep from veering off course and running into other swimmers or the wall.

The Breaststroke
As your child becomes a stronger swimmer, you can move up to more advanced swim strokes such as the Breaststroke and Butterfly. The Breaststroke is an involved technique where the body bobs up and down as you propel forward. The arms begin basically in a prayer position in front of the chest, moved forward and then to the side and back to thrust forward before being brought back to the original position. The leg kick is similar to the way a frog kicks in the water which is probably the simplest way to describe it. This stroke takes a lot of coordination and practice before your child will be comfortable performing it.

The Butterfly
Strength and timing are key here. Starting face down, the arms are rotated together in a windmill fashion while the legs and feet should stay together, kicking in a motion reminiscent to a dolphins tail. The trick is to undulate the body in a motion to maximize the effectiveness of the arm and leg movements while being able to take a breath by raising your head between strokes. This stroke takes a long time to learn and perfect, so encourage patience when your child is learning this stroke.

Of course if you don’t feel comfortable teaching your children these techniques we highly encourage you to enroll them in lessons.

Here is a short video that demonstrates the swim strokes we’ve discussed here:

Maintaining Pool Chemistry

Maintain Pool ChemistryMost pool owners know that maintaining a balanced chemistry is the key to keeping your pool fresh and clean. But it’s not always an easy task, especially in hot states like Arizona. There are many factors to keeping the chemicals balanced but here are a few keys areas to pay attention to.

Testing
Test your pools chemicals at least twice a week during the summer. There are many home testing kits available and most pool stores offer free water testing service. Pay special attention to you PH balance and alkalinity as this determines how effective the chlorine you add to your pool will be.

Run Your Pool Filter Correctly
Your pool filter is tasked with cleaning all of the water in your pool so it’s important you are running your pool pump long enough to turn over the entire contents of your pool. The length of time required will vary from pool to pool. Your pool flow rate will determine how long you should run your filter. Check your pool pumps gallon per minute rating to determine the correct length of time or consult a pool professional.

Don’t Backwash Too Often
Many people think they need to backwash their pool every time they vacuum or clean the pool. This is actually just wasting water and chemicals. Most filters have a pressure gauge. The pressure gauge will tell you when it is necessary to backwash the pool, generally when the gauge rises above 8-10 PSI from it’s normal reading.

Brush Your Pool
Regardless of how good your pool circulation is, there are going to be certain spots of your pool where the water is somewhat stagnant. These are the areas where algae generally first appears when your pool is not maintained properly and often found around stairs and on filter ports. Brushing those areas frequently can help prevent the build up of algae.

Check Chlorine Ingredients
Not all chlorine available to purchase is the same. Some have other chemicals included and a smaller percentage of chlorine. You also have the choice of liquid chlorine, tablets, or shock granules. Liquid chlorine tends to lose its effectiveness quicker in the sun so may not be the best choice during summer in Arizona. Talk to you pool professional about your pool situation for advice on what the best chlorine option is for you.

Add Chemicals at Night
Chlorine and chemicals are less effective when added during the day.

By remaining vigilant and monitoring your pool’s chemical levels frequently, you should have no problems keeping your pool clean and swimmable all year. If you feel you don’t have the time, you may want to consider hiring a professional pool cleaning service company to maintain your pool’s chemical balance.

Floating Pool in New York’s East River

Plus Pool Project New YorkIf you are from New York or have family there, you know most people wouldn’t even consider swimming in the East River. What about a pool filled with water from the river? Forget about it. But what if the pool floated in the river, and it’s walls filtrated all the bacteria and contaminants from the river water? Well, now you might just end up with a swimmable pool!

That’s exactly what the folks Family and Play Lab are counting on. Meet the + Pool. Shaped like a giant plus symbol, it will actually be four pools in one: a kids pool, sports pool, lap pool, and lounge pool. Like a giant strainer dropped into the river, + POOL will make it possible for everybody to swim in clean river water in NYC.

It began as a simple idea amongst three friends, who quickly realized they weren’t the only ones who wanted to see the project come to fruition. In just six days, they raised $41,000 surpassing their goal of $25,000. Soon after, a team was then assembled of designers, engineers, environmental consultants, planners, project managers, and fabricators. The initial backing money allowed the team to start testing water filtration materials and gather water quality data for the project.

Funding for the project has been as inventive as the pool itself. Since the pool will contain 70,000 tiles, supporters can purchase tiles and have their names engraved on it to be permanently placed it the pool. There are different levels of tiles to purchase starting at $25.00 (group tile containing seven names) all the way up to $9999.00 (limited edition marble tile).

Primarily using funding via Kickstarter, it’s on its way to becoming one of the largest crowd-funded civic projects the world has ever seen, and the fact that everybody can be a part of getting + POOL into the water is both incredible and absolutely central to the project. The hope is not only to provide a recreational area for New Yorkers to go to, but to also change the way New Yorkers view and take care of the rivers surrounding Manhattan.

The team recently achieved its funding goal of $250,000.00 to move the next phase of the project which will be to build a floating lab, essentially a miniature version of the pool to test filtration and allow everyone to see and learn how the pool will help clean the river and provide a fun place for families to visit.

The project has a long way to go, but the hope is to open the pool by 2016, just in time for the Olympics. If it is a success, it may just change how cities across the country and the world look at rivers and lakes, and inspire them to clean and take care of the water around them. To learn more about this incredible civic project, visit www.pluspool.org.

Salt Water Vs. Chlorine

salt water vs chlorine poolThere has been widespread debate for sometime now on whether or not to continue to use chlorine tablets and powders to keep your pool clean, or to switch to a salt water system, which generates it’s own chlorine via a generator. While installing salt water systems can be expensive, you also have to take into consideration the amount you spend on chlorine and chemicals throughout the year and well as the time it takes for maintenance on the pool.

Typically, to convert a chlorine based pool to a saltwater pool is in the $1400-$2000 range. People who are familiar with chlorine pools will be quick to note that they spend far less than that on chlorine and chemicals each year. However, the life expectancy of a saltwater generating system is 3 to 5 year which should be figured into the equation.

People with salt water systems will also tell you that the water is ‘softer’ and less harsh on your skin. It’s also easier to maintain the PH-Balance of your pool with salt water. Some people are concerned that their pool will end up tasting like the ocean, however, because it has such a low concentration of salt that it’s officially considered to be fresh water. The salt water concentration in a pool is actually only approximately 1/10th of the salt water concentration of the ocean.

Chlorine, on the other hand, is better at killing bacteria and can actually clean up a pool faster than a salt water system. If you maintain your chlorine pool regularly, maintenance can be a easy as simply adding tablets to the pool and running a simple pool test to check your ph and other levels.

It seems there is really no clear-cut winner when you compare and contrast saltwater pools to chlorine pools. It all depends on the amount of maintenance and overall use of the pool. While saltwater pools do not use any significant chemicals, chlorine is a byproduct of the salt you add to the water, so chlorine is still present in the water. But salt is a more natural approach and is safer on our skin and hair than the harsh chlorine chemical tablets. Also, a saltwater pool will not fade or damage your swimsuit as much as a chlorinated pool.

We would love to hear what you think, so please feel free to comment below!

If you would like more information on chlorine vs salt water pools, please feel free to contact the professionals at Platinum Pools and Spa’s today.