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How to Pick the Perfect Set of Swim Goggles

How to Pick the Perfect Set of Swim Goggles

Ready to take the plunge into the sport of swimming? The benefits of the sport[1] have been shown over and over again to be effective over other types of physical activity. It’s strength training, cardiovascular in nature, low impact, and can be done with a minimal amount of gear.

One of the things you do need, however, is a good pair of swim goggles.

Why You Should Always Wear Goggles When Swimming

There are two reasons that you should always be hitting the pool with a pair strapped to your head:

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1. They will help you see under the water. This sounds obvious, perhaps silly, but goggles will help you see better under the water. This is important because for starters you need to be able to see where you are going, and secondly, it will help you better see and avoid other swimmers in your lane.

2. They protect your eyes. You know how from time-to-time you go to the pool and emerge with red, itchy eyes? For most of us (myself included), it was assumed that this was because of the chlorine getting into our eyes and irritating them. This is partially true. The reality, as it turns out, is far more disgusting.

As the CDC notes,[2] when chlorine and things like sweat, pee, and uh, other human stuff, interact with chlorine it produces something called chloramine. This is what is causing your eyes to go crazy with redness. While a pair of goggles probably won’t ever remove the mental image I just gave you of what is actually happening in the water, it will help prevent the eye irritation.

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How to Pick Out Swim Goggles

Okay, so now that you are sold on why you should always be wearing them when you go swim some laps, here are the key considerations when picking yourself out a pair:

The anti-fog doesn’t last.

No matter what the packaging says or what the clerk at the swim store tells you, the anti-fog on swim goggles[3] always falter at some point. Two weeks of regular swimming is usually about all I’ve been able to get out of my goggles, and that is with having the discipline to not use my thumbs to wipe away errant beads of sweat and water from the inside of the lens. Don’t buy the hype, no goggle is truly anti-fog. What matters more is the color of the lens (which we will discuss next).

The tint of the lenses matter.

Dark and mirrored lenses look cool. There’s no disputing that. But with the darkness comes a serious pitfall—it compromises vision when swimming in older, indoor pools. This becomes especially apparent once the anti-fog starts to wear off. Having to wipe the inside of your darkened goggles at the end of each length because you can barely see the wall, the pace clock and other swimmers is no way to go through your workout.

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Simply:

  • Dark/mirrored lenses: For outdoor swimming, well-lit indoor pools.
  • Clear to lightly tinted lenses: Indoor swimming.

Insure a good fit.

Springing a leak in your goggles is no fun. Half the point of your swim goggles is to keep water out of your eyes and to keep your vision unobstructed. When goggles don’t fit properly, whether because the straps are too loose, the nose-piece too wide or too narrow, or the lenses don’t “suction” against your face, water is going to get in there. You want to spend your workout swimming, not perpetually stopping to adjust and readjust your goggles.

For this reason, check the following when you are down at your local swim store:

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Get goggles with an adjustable nose piece.

No two faces are built the same. Goggles that come with an adjustable nose piece allow you to not only customize them to your face, but it also means you can cheaply replace the nose piece instead of the whole set when it inevitably breaks.

Check the padding around the lens.

Next, check to see how the goggles feel on your face. Whether the goggles have some sort of padding around the lenses will go a long way in dictating how they feel. The Speedo Vanquisher strikes a great balance between form and function, and can be used by beginner and advanced swimmers. The rubber coating around the edges of the lenses sit comfortably against the eye socket. More experienced swimmers will lean towards the “Swedes” type of goggles, which have no padding on the lenses. Beginner swimmers would do well to avoid these when starting out—they will leave your upper cheeks and eyes ringing with soreness after any kind of extended time wearing them.

Happy swimming!

Featured photo credit: Flickr via flickr.com

Reference

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Science Says Screaming Is Good For You

Science Says Screaming Is Good For You

There are many reasons why people might scream – they’re angry, scared, or in pain (or maybe they’re in a metal band!). Some might say that screaming is bad, but here’s why science says it’s good for you.

“For the first time in the history of psychology there is a way to access feelings, hidden away, in a safe way and thus to reduce human suffering. It is, in essence, the first science of psychotherapy.” — Dr. Arthur Janov

Primal Therapy

Dr. Arthur Janov invented Primal Therapy in the late 1960’s. It is a practice that allows the patient to face their repressed emotions from past trauma head on and let those emotions go. This treatment is intended to cure any mental illness the patient may have that surfaced from this past trauma. In most cases, Primal Therapy has lead Dr. Janov’s patients to scream towards the end of their session, though it was not part of the original procedure. During a group therapy session that was at a standstill, Dr. Janov says that one of his patients, a student he called Danny, told a story that inspired him to implement a technique that he never would have thought of on his own.

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How it Started

“During a lull in our group therapy session, he told us a story about a man named Ortiz who was currently doing an act on the London stage in which he paraded around in diapers drinking bottles of milk. Throughout his number, Ortiz is shouting, ‘Mommy! Daddy! Mommy! Daddy!’ at the top of his lungs. At the end of his act he vomits. Plastic bags are passed out, and the audience is requested to follow suit.”

It doesn’t end there, though. Dr. Janov said that his patient was quite fascinated with that story, and that alone moved him to suggest something even he believed to be a little elementary.

“I asked him to call out, ‘Mommy! Daddy!’ Danny refused, saying that he couldn’t see the sense in such a childish act, and frankly, neither could I. But I persisted, and finally, he gave in. As he began, he became noticeably upset. Suddenly he was writhing on the floor in agony. His breathing was rapid, spasmodic. ‘Mommy! Daddy!’ came out of his mouth almost involuntarily in loud screeches. He appeared to be in a coma or hypnotic state. The writhing gave way to small convulsions, and finally, he released a piercing, deathlike scream that rattled the walls of my office. The entire episode lasted only a few minutes, and neither Danny nor I had any idea what had happened. All he could say afterward was: ‘I made it! I don’t know what, but I can feel.’”

Delving deeper

Dr. Janov says he was baffled for months, but then he decided to experiment with another patient with the same method, which lead to a similar result as before. The patient started out calling “Mommy! Daddy!” then experienced convulsions, heavy breathing, and then eventually screamed. After the session, Dr. Janov says his patient was transformed and became “virtually another human being. He became alert… he seemed to understand himself.”

Although the initial intention of this particular practice wasn’t to get the patient to scream, more than once did his Primal Therapy sessions end with the patient screaming and feeling lighter, revived, and relieved of stresses that were holding them down in life.

Some Methods To Practice Screaming

If you want to try it out for yourself, keep reading!

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  • Step 1: Be Alone — Be alone. If you live in a place that you can’t be alone, it might be a good idea to talk to your family or roommates and explain to them what you’re about to do and make sure they’re okay with it. If you’re good to go, move on to step 2.
  • Step 2: Lie Down — Lie down on a yoga mat on your back and place a pillow underneath your head. If you don’t own a yoga mat, you can use a rug or even a soft blanket.
  • Step 3: Think — Think of things that have hurt you or made you angry. It can be anything from your childhood or even something that happened recently to make yourself cry, if you’re not already crying or upset. You could even scream “Mommy! Daddy!” just like Dr. Janov’s patients did to get yourself started.
  • Step 4: Scream — Don’t hold anything back; cry and scream as loud as you can. You can also pound your fists on the ground, or just lie there and scream at the top of your lungs.

After this, you should return your breathing to a normal and steady pace. You should feel lighter, like a weight has been lifted off of you. If not, you can also try these other methods.

Scream Sing

Scream singing” is referring to what a lot of lead singers in metal or screamo bands will do. I’ve tried it and although I wasn’t very good at it, it was fun and definitely relieved me of any stress I was feeling from before. It usually ends up sounding like a really loud grunt, but nonetheless, it’s considered screaming.

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  • Step 1 — Bear down and make a grunting sound.
  • Step 2 — Hiss like a snake and make sure to do this from your diaphragm (your stomach) for as long as you can.
  • Step 3 — Breathe and push your stomach out for more air when you are belting notes, kind of like you would if you were singing.
  • Step 4 — Try different ways to let out air to control how long the note will last, just make sure not to let out too much air.
  • Step 5 — Distort your voice by pushing air out from your throat, just be careful not to strain yourself.
  • Step 6 — Play around with the pitch of your screams and how wide your mouth is open – the wider your mouth is open, the higher the screams will sound. The narrower or rounder your mouth is (and most likely shaped like an “o”), the lower the screams will sound.
  • Step 7 — Start screaming to metal music. If you’re not a huge metal fan, it’s okay. You don’t have to use this method if you don’t want to.

If you want a more thorough walkthrough of how to scream sing, here’s a good video tutorial. If this method is too strenuous on your vocal chords, stop. Also, make sure to stay hydrated when scream singing and drink lots of water.

Scream into a pillow

Grab a pillow and scream into it. This method is probably the fastest and easiest way to practice screaming. Just make sure to come up for air.

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Always remember to make sure that you’re not going to disturb anyone while practicing any of these methods of screaming. And with that, happy screaming!

Featured photo credit: Sharon Mollerus via flickr.com

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