Cold water swimming seems to be one of the latest buzzwords we are constantly hearing. Bobbing is the term I use for less confident swimmers that engage in this activity. They enter standing depth water purely to reap the benefits, making it a more inclusive activity.
So “is it worth the hype?” Well, all I say to those sceptics is “don’t knock it until you have given it a go.”
The reasons cold water swimming is forever growing in popularity is due to the many benefits it brings, to both our mental and physical wellbeing.
Mental and physical health benefits are plentiful:
- Not only does it compliment the drug treatments for anxiety and depression, many with regular exposure to cold water have weaned themselves off their medication completely.
- You get that feel good feeling. The cocktail of cold water and exercise releases the body’s feel good hormone dopamine. Swimming with others only intensifies this experience.
- Stressful situations we come across in every day life become more manageable too, also boosting your self-esteem.
- Improves your circulation.
- Boosts your immunity, repeated exposure is reported to increase white blood cell production, which means less coughs and colds.
- Improves energy levels and alertness.
- Reduces inflammation like an ice bath.
So, I have mentioned the positives. Please be aware cold water swimming isn’t without risk! It is dangerous if not done properly and without the correct education and kit.
THINGS TO DO BEFORE YOU TAKE THE PLUNGE:
- Book onto an introductory cold water session with a qualified coach to learn about cold water shock, signs of hypothermia, the after drop, varying weather conditions, what kit to buy and why hot showers are an absolute no!
- Be in good physical health, if in doubt speak to your Doctor.
- Have the correct kit – bright hat, tow float, wetsuits if you choose to wear one or just a costume (skins).
- Check out the body of water you will be entering. Lifeguarded? Currents, tides, contamination, temperature etc.
- Be prepared for afterwards, warm clothes, hot drink, sugary snack.
In answer to the question “is it worth the hype?” To me and thousands of others the answer is a resounding “yes” due to the overwhelming benefits.
Open water swimming/bobbing in cold water is a great leveller. I can guarantee you will not be disappointed. It is a fantastic community to be part of. If the low temperature is putting you off why not have a go in the warmer months. Swimming outside in the elements of nature truly is an amazing experience at any time of year. I guarantee you will be smiling from ear to ear.
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