In the peak of summer, we wade through a Good Morning Show viewer question about swimming:
Kristen Perry wrote:
"Hey, Meghann Mollerus, I've got a VERIFY question. Is it true there are some people that don't have the ability to float in water? My husband is convinced he is one of the few who cannot float, and I've always thought that every person is able to float. Please help us VERIFY this question!"
To VERIFY, we consulted the Hayes-Taylor YMCA Aquatics Director Renee Hicks. We also consulted the website RelaxNSwim.com
Hicks explained not everyone can float -- it depends on body density and their ability to displace enough water to float. People with smaller or muscular body types tend to have trouble.
RelaxNSwim further explains fat is less dense than muscle and bones, so fat floats more easily. That is why many athletes have trouble floating. Lung capacity is a factor, too. Lungs act like balloons -- the more air in them, the more lift they have. If a person is tense, he or she will breathe more shallowly and rapidly, and there will be less air in the lungs to keep him or her afloat.
It is easier to float in salt water, which is the concept behind so-called 'float pods' that are popping up at spas across the country. Salt is more dense per volume than the average person, so it is easier to float higher in saltier water than in fresh water.
While it is possible viewer Kristen's husband can't float due to his body density, he can try changing his buoyancy in the water. For example, he can try floating with part of his legs hanging down in the water, as opposed to trying to keep them on top of the surface.