What is a Lap Pool?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Lap pools are generally rectangular in shape, which allows their owners to swim laps.
Lap pools are generally rectangular in shape, which allows their owners to swim laps.

A lap pool is a swimming pool that is designed specifically for the purpose of swimming laps. It may also be called an exercise or personal pool, because it is usually intended for the use of one person who wants to use swimming to stay fit. Many pool companies offer installation to their clients who want the convenience of a small pool at home, and these pools can sometimes be found in innovative places. Some architects carefully integrate them into their home designs to create a seamless and stylish water accent in addition to a place to work out.

Architects design beautiful lap pools into client's landscaping.
Architects design beautiful lap pools into client's landscaping.

Typically, lap pools are long and narrow, allowing people to swim back and forth for as many laps of exercise as they desire. Sometimes, a pool will have a slightly unusual shape, but the classic and basic design is a simple rectangle. The water is usually of a uniform depth as well, which can make them dangerous for children and pets, who might have difficulty getting out if they fall in. Lap pools may be heated or unheated, depending on the region, and they are usually very easy to maintain.

Swimming laps can build muscle, burn calories and help regulate breathing and build lung capacity.
Swimming laps can build muscle, burn calories and help regulate breathing and build lung capacity.

In cases where people have very limited space for the installation, an "endless" pool may be installed. Endless pools have a steady resistance current that swimmers can work against for exercise. Essentially, they work like treadmills, as the swimmer stays in the same place in the water, but gets a great deal of exercise thanks to the current.

An indoor lap pool may be installed as part of a fitness room or greenhouse, or it may be integrated into a public area of a home. Some designer homes, for example, integrate such a pool in the living room so that the home owner can enjoy beautiful views while he or she swims, while taking advantage of the water as a decorative home feature. A pool may also be placed outdoors, and in temperate climates, it can fit in well in a small backyard.

Public pools found in gyms and recreation centers are often lap pools.
Public pools found in gyms and recreation centers are often lap pools.

Swimming is a good way to work out since it can be used by people at all levels of physical ability. It is gentle on the joints of the body, which is why many older people or people with disabilities choose to swim, since it gently builds muscle without creating strain. Swimming can also help to reduce overall stress, like many other forms of exercise, which is why it is often popular with urban dwellers.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments

Bertie68

I saw an ad the other day in a magazine for an lap pool that was supposed to be different than those regular custom installed resistance lap pools -- I'm really interested in this, because I'm just dying to have a small lap pool, but what with regular lap pool prices being so high, I'm having a hard time finding an affordable one.

Apparently this one is as small as a minivan, is portable and can be used inside or outdoors -- and it's cheaper, which is the big winner for me. Has anybody heard of pools like this, or know if they're as good as the regular lap pools (or better?)

Esther11

@anon92244 - Swimming in a lap pool would really build strong muscles and endurance in preparation for a triathlon.

I would love to have a lap pool! I live in the northwest, so an indoor pool would be the best since it rains so much here.

I have some arthritis in my knees, so having a lap pool in my home would be a good incentive to swim every day So many people have good intentions about going regularly to the swimming pool, but find excuses not to go. I'm one of them!

anon92244

lap pools are great for triathlon training. great post.

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    • Lap pools are generally rectangular in shape, which allows their owners to swim laps.
      Lap pools are generally rectangular in shape, which allows their owners to swim laps.
    • Architects design beautiful lap pools into client's landscaping.
      Architects design beautiful lap pools into client's landscaping.
    • Swimming laps can build muscle, burn calories and help regulate breathing and build lung capacity.
      Swimming laps can build muscle, burn calories and help regulate breathing and build lung capacity.
    • Public pools found in gyms and recreation centers are often lap pools.
      Public pools found in gyms and recreation centers are often lap pools.