I’ve been wild swimming - or just swimming as we’ve always called it - since i was a child. Jumping into water at any opportunity and spending hours in the sea, rivers or lakes whenever I could! I still go as much as I can, although I feel the cold a bit more now and am often in a wetsuit as much as ‘skins’ (swimsuit only). However, it’s certainly been really positive for me during lockdown.
The Health Benefits Of Wild Swimming
There’s been loads in the press recently about the benefits of wild swimming and it’s been proven to have a number of great health and wellbeing benefits including soothing muscle aches, improving mental wellbeing and boosting our immune systems! Studies from NASA show that, over a 12-week period, repeated cold swimming leads to ‘cold adaptation’. This new bodily state can bring down blood pressure and cholesterol, reduce fat disposition, inhibit blood clotting and increase fertility in both men and women.
Wild Swimming Tips for Beginners
As a keen outdoor swimmer, I wanted to share some of my top tips for getting out there into the amazing waterways all around us.
- Find your kit - you only need a swimsuit, small towel and maybe some old shoes to get going, but I’d also recommend a hat and potentially a tow float to ensure you stay safe and seen while you’re swimming.
- Stay safe - start in a location you’re familiar with and never swim alone.
- Cold water is … cold! - get in slowly as cold water shock is very real and it takes your breath away. Don’t stay in for long and make sure you’ve got plenty of warm clothes or hot drinks when you get out. My trick is to take a hot water bottle with me and that’s a lovely warm shower when you get out!
- Watch out for currents - in rivers as well as the sea - and make sure you’re always somewhere you can get out. I recommend keeping your mouth shut too - sadly our waterways aren’t always that clean, so watch out
- Find friends - or ideally a group. Try searching for wild swimming groups on Facebook or the Outdoor Swimming Society is a very friendly and active group too and is a great place to start.
- Just go for it!
For me swimming is exercise, escapism and meditation - as well as a chance to relax with friends and my great swimming buddies. I 100% recommend it and challenge you not to be hooked once you’ve given it a go!