Whether you grew up on a swim team or came to lap swimming later in life, you know what great exercise the sport is. Swimming can not only provide a cardiovascular workout, but it tones muscles as well. And, of course, it burns calories. That means you can eat more goodies, er, lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
The bad part about swimming is it can be a pain going to the local pool. Lap swimming hours vary from facility to facility, wedged in between open swim and lessons, which means you can only go at certain times of the day. A swim workout can be hard to fit into your schedule as often as you would like. And when you can make it to the public lap swim, sometimes the lanes are crowded, or there are kids there goofing around instead of swimming. Add to that the commute time that is wasted traveling to and from the pool, and you can see why more and more people are equipping their homes so they can swim laps from their own back yards.
What are your options if you want to go that route? Obviously, you won’t get a good workout paddling back and forth in your bath tub. The two main options are lap pools and swim spas.
The only difference between a lap pool and other residential swimming pools is the shape and size. Instead of the ubiquitous kidney-shaped pool, these pools are long, narrow rectangles that emulate a single lap lane. If there’s room, homeowners will go for the full 25 yard length found at most local pools. That way it’s easy to calculate how far you’ve swum. Generally, only 3.5-4 feet deep, lap pools are for serious swimmers and aren’t usually used for recreational swimming (they lack the depth and width needed for toys like diving boards and slides), but they are enough to take a dip in and cool off on a hot day.
The cost for installing a lap pool will vary from region to region, but installation and labor starts at about $20,000-$30,000.
Swim spas are a newer alternative to digging up the backyard to install a lap pool. Much like a hot tub, they are self-contained units that can be installed indoors or out. They work like a treadmill, where you basically swim in place with an adjustable current pushing against you. Because of this, they take up much less space than a traditional lap pool.
Swim spas aren’t necessarily cheaper to install than regular swimming pools though. They start at about $20,000 and that doesn’t include installation or building a deck/sinking them into the ground (whichever you prefer). Also, because they are still relatively rare, it can be hard to find a local pool company with experience installing and servicing them.
Still, either lap pools or swim spas are viable options if you are looking to give up your pass at the local pool and start swimming for exercise at home.