5 Tips for Open Water Swimming Beginners this Autumn
The mental and physical benefits of open water swimming are widely reported. It boosts our immunity, endorphins, libido, calorie burn, mindfulness and ability to handle stress. No wonder many of us are looking to bring cold water swimming into our lives.
These benefits don’t come without careful preparation. For cold water swimming beginners there are some safety measures it’s important to know about.
Never swim alone
The absolute golden rule for cold water swimming. You can encounter dangerous situations and also not notice if your body isn’t responding correctly to the water temperature. Even when you get out – you might struggle to get dressed, or see someone else struggling. Together you can help each other more quickly.
Prepare for the water temperature
It’s important to protect yourself and preserve your body heat as much as you can. Do not dive into the water as the sudden drop in temperature can cause the body to shock. Once in the water, keep swimming to acclimatise.
Be realistic with your limits and the winter climate
Many winter swimmers only manage a minute or so swim as the temperature drops. One rule is to swim for 1 minute per degree of water temperature.
Plan your entry and exit
Ensure you find somewhere you can easily get into and out of the water and warm up slowly as you come out. Do not dive into a hot shower as that can be painful and just as shocking to your system. Warm clothes and a hot drink will work wonders.
Get the gear
You might think it’s obvious we’d say this, but protecting yourself in and out of the water is very important. Once you are in a group of swimmers all taking the right precautions you won’t feel silly!
In the water, consider wearing a woolly hat or ear muffs, a wetsuit or neoprene gloves and boots.
Once out, wrap up in one of our Eco Sports Cloaks to get warm quickly and with privacy. Top Tip! Before you get into the water do up the bottom of the coat zip, so that it’s easy to step into and pull up around yourself as you get out or the water.
Large warm mittens are an excellent way to warm cold fingers quickly as they might not behave in the way you need them to once they are cold!
Repeating the gold rule. Cold water swimming must never done alone. Take a Charlie McLeod insulated flask to enjoy a hot drink with all those endorphins rushing around your body afterwards. There are many clubs in the UK – hop onto Facebook to search for your closest group... CMc