Swimming in cold water is not everyone’s cup of tea, but it has incredible health benefits. Swimming in cold water boosts the immune system, gets your blood pumping, and ramps up the production of testosterone in men and estrogen in women. Swimming in cold water is also an amazing workout because your body has to burn more calories to keep you warm. If you want to enjoy the benefits of cold water swimming, follow this guide to doing it right.
Preparing for a Cold-Water Swim
Before you head out in the open water, you need to take steps to prepare yourself. The first step in preparing for a cold-water swim is checking the weather forecast. Look at the temperature of the water and the air. Also, check to see how strong the wind is blowing.
You also want to get all your cold-water swim gear together. You will need a wetsuit if you are swimming in cold water and you will also need ear plugs. Goggles are another necessity and it is also a good idea to wear a swim cap to reduce drag. Many open-water swimmers like to wear webbed gloves to give them better paddling power.
Get yourself warmed up before you get in the water. Jump around, stretch, do some squats, and get your blood pumping. Make sure to keep your feet covered up until you get in the water. You don’t want your feet to cause you to cut your swim short because they get cold before the rest of your body.
Tips for Swimming in Cold Water
When you first dive into the water, dive completely in as you blow bubbles away from your face. The bubbles prevent the cold water from directly impacting your face. This prevents your lungs from contracting and causing you breathing difficulties at the beginning of your swim. Make sure you dive right in and blow those bubbles to help reduce the shock of entering cold water.
For safety, you should never go swimming in cold water alone. The onset of hypothermia can be difficult to realize for people who suffer from it and this makes it very dangerous to ever go into a situation where you are at risk for hypothermia by yourself. If you must go alone, make sure you bring a watch so you get out of the water in a safe amount of time to prevent hypothermia.
The key to swimming well in cold water is to keep your breathing regular. Smooth, steady breaths will allow you to maintain a good rhythm and mentally overcome the cold.
If your breathing starts to become labored, you should head into shore. If you ever start shivering while swimming, you must get out of the water immediately. Shivering is the body’s last line of defense to warm itself before the onset of hypothermia. Unfortunately, shivering does nothing to heat the body when you are immersed in cold water. Make sure to swim to shore when you feel the first shiver to stay out of danger.
After a Cold-Water Swim
When you get out of the water, make sure to warm yourself up as soon as possible. It is best to keep your wetsuit on until you can get inside someplace warm to dry off and change into warm clothes. It is a great idea to have a thermos full of your favorite hot beverage to warm you up when you get done. Jumping in a hot tub after a cold-water swim is a great way to warm up quickly as well.
Swimming in cold water is fantastic for your health and many people find it quite enjoyable once they try it. If you are ready to join the cold-water swimming club, make sure you follow this guide to do it safely. When you prepare yourself properly, you will be able to blast through your swims in cold water.