'Why do I sink?' - that depressing question you keep asking yourself. Summed up by the constant battle to keep your legs at the surface when all they want to do is go down. It's all made worse when another swimmer glides effortlessly past you like a duck on a pond, without a care in the world!
There is a very good reason why some of us sink and some of us float easily, and it's all down to our relative density.
A stick floats and a rock sinks. The stick floats because its density is less, relative to the density of the water. The rock sinks because its density is far greater, relative to the density of the water.
In human terms, our fat is the stick and our muscles are the rock. Muscles are generally more dense than water and cause us to sink. Fat is less dense than water, party because it contains oil, which floats on water. Thus fat floats. Those of us with a higher fat to muscle ratio will tend to float. Yes that’s right, fat people float better than muscular people - generally speaking.
(I’m using fat and muscle as examples to keep things simple. It must be noted that our bones, organs, blood and all that stuff all contribute to the density of our body.)
The average male has a density of 0.98g/cm3 and the average female 0.97g/cm3. In general most human beings will float to a certain degree. Most will have a small amount of the body staying above the water surface. Females float better than males. Both males and females float better in saltwater than in freshwater. Very few adults can float horizontally in the water, yet most children can hold a star float in the horizontal position.
Other factors that effect floatation are:
My book 'How To Float' contains all the answers to that common question: Why Do I Sink?
Inside you will find:
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