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Benefits of Cold-water swimming and Safety Procedures

Recently, however, cold-water swimming is becoming a popular trend for leisure centres and lidos alike, to get all-around use of their facilities. If you’re feeling eager about getting into the pool, or want to make the most of your facilities over the cold period, why not consider giving cold-water swimming a try?
a lady cold-water swimming

Benefits of Cold-water swimming and Safety Procedures

When most people think of pools, they think of hot summer days. Typically, your pool will be active from Spring into Autumn and then most people will “close down” their pool for the Winter months, as the temperature drops. Recently, however, cold-water swimming is becoming a popular trend for leisure centres and lidos alike, to get all-around use of their facilities.

If you’re feeling eager about getting into the pool, or want to make the most of your facilities over the cold period, why not consider giving cold-water swimming a try? Below you can read our best tips for swimming safely and the benefits of doing so.

For commercial readers, check out our Winter maintenance article for best practices to look after your pool over the Winter.

Benefits of Cold-Water Swimming

It’s easy to see why cold-water swimming has grown in popularity so much recently, with many great health benefits to gain from the activity. From increasing your circulation, stress tolerance and burning calories, there are many positive effects it can have on your body, as well as several reasons to be cautious while doing so. Below are just a few of the ways cold-water swimming can improve your health:

  • Improved circulation. With cold temperatures, your body will pump blood through your veins at a faster rate to keep organs warm. This means that toxins are flushed out of your system more frequently also.
  • Boost metabolism
  • Increasing muscle strength
  • Build tolerance to stress. Being exposed to cold water often allows our bodies to experience a controlled stress reaction. Having this experience regularly can therefore build a tolerance to other stressful situations.
  • Burning calories
  • Boosting white blood cell count and immune system. This is due to your body needing to react to the changing temperatures at a quicker speed, eventually causing it to activate defences earlier on too.
  • Increased libido
  • Post-swim high. Due to the shock of the cold water, or “pain” that it causes the body, endorphins are released, which causes the “post-swim high” feeling that many people get.

 

BBC News published an inspiring article sharing how one woman had used cold-water swimming as an outlet to overcome her eating disorder. You can read about her experience on the BBC News website.

 

Temperature Guide for Cold-Water Swimming

It is universally considered that any temperature under 18°C is cold-water swimming. Most major open-water swimming associations will recommend a wet suit for swimming under this temperature, with few events ever being held below 16°C on a professional level.

When temperatures are below 16°C you need to factor in a recovery period once leaving the pool or open water. This means that you will be unable to drive a car or any task with a risk factor, where your focus is required. Any temperature that reaches below 10°C is cold even for regular cold-water swimmers and should not be carried out for longer than 45 minutes.

The Outdoor Swimming Society has a great page explaining the different temperature brackets for swimming and the effects each will have on the body. We’d highly recommend reading this to give yourself a rough idea of what to expect. You can find their page here.

Cold-Water Swimming Safety Procedures

While it’s usually best to dive straight into things you’re nervous about… do not take this approach for cold-water swimming! The cold will be a shock and takes time to adjust. Make sure you lower yourself into the water to allow your body to acclimate and tackle it slowly. If it is your first time, only swim for a few minutes to first experience it and then build up from there. Cold-water swimming is a gradual process that can give a big sense of accomplishment, so don’t stay in the water if you feel your body is telling you it has had enough. The general rule is to stay for 1 minute for every degree the temperature is, so 15 minutes is ample for a 15°C day.

It is worth checking with your GP if you have existing health problems and are concerned.

When in the pool, wear some form of hat. Whether that’s a swimming cap or woolly hat, it’s best to bring one along, as most of the heat is lost through your head. Wetsuits are recommended too- professionals often wear a wet suit in the pool for cold-water swimming, so don’t be embarrassed!

Following Your Cold-Water Swim

Warm clothing is a must following your dip, to help your body warm up safely. While you may be tempted to jump straight into a hot shower, please avoid doing so, as this can cool your core and may cause your blood pressure to drop. Instead, choose a hot drink and blankets and make sure you are properly warmed up before going about any daily tasks or travelling after your swim. You will be colder leaving the water than you were when swimming, so make sure to get dressed as quickly as possible and keep them nearby.

Here at Go Aqua, we attend callouts around-the-clock and not just seasonally. If your pool requires any maintenance or repairs then get in touch and we will respond to you as soon as possible. With 

Don’t think cold-water swimming is the right direction for you? Read our guide on the best Winter pool maintenance procedures, or our blog on energy-saving heat pumps.

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Contact us today for any problems you have, whether that is for pool maintenance, repairs or parts needed. We attend callouts around the clock and deliver the finest service possible.

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