Homeowners are beginning to discover what doctors and therapists have long known, that water's weightlessness makes exercise easier on the body.
Christopher Wackman, Endless Pools' senior vice president for sales and marketing, says baby boomers are a key reason for the industry's growth.
"As baby boomers enter their 60s they're having a hard time continuing at the level they once did, jogging on asphalt a couple of times each week," he said. "Now they can run in the pool two or three times a week. It's the perfect exercise. There's not as much pounding on the joints."
Hans Gruenert, 48, of Canonsburg is a stroke or two ahead of his fellow baby boomers. He had a 17-by-11-foot unit from Endless Pools installed in his North Strabane home five years ago. He swims about three times a week, for 20-30 minutes.
"I had always wanted an indoor pool, but there was not enough room," he said. "It's the perfect size."
His wife, Virginia, uses the pool for about a half-hour every day, running with hand weights against a moving block of water created by a 16-inch propeller.
Endless Pools, based in Aston, Pa., houses its propeller in a steel-sided pool that can be assembled by two "relatively handy" people in a few weekends, Wackman said. Add $3,500-$4,000 for a plumber and electrician and to inexpensively finish off the space, said Wackman.
Basements or garages are popular installation areas for Endless Pools because they come in pieces that will fit through a 30-inch-wide doorway. But many people want a more attractive space in which to exercise. Hans Gruenert spent about $60,000 for his pool and an all-glass addition by Patio Enclosures.