Whether it’s sunny, rainy or cold, open water swimming is a refreshing activity renowned for its many advantages for your physical and mental well-being. It can bring excitement to an otherwise ordinary weekend and allows you to improve your fitness levels while enjoying stunning scenery. There’s a wide range of open water swimming benefits that you could be making the most of, so let’s delve into them.
ADVICE ON SAFETY
First, you should always take the necessary precautions to ensure your safety when open water swimming. There are many aspects to consider, including general water safety knowledge, such as being aware of rips and currents and ensuring you retain your warmth when exiting the water. Our essential guide can give you a few pointers on what to expect when on the beach.
It is also essential to consider the more basic precautions, such as telling family and friends where you plan to swim and for how long, and swimming with a companion whenever possible.
Take a look at our tips on sun protection for more information on sun safety when in or near water.
TIPS FOR BEGINNERS
If you are eager to try open water swimming but are entirely new to the sport, joining a local group or club in your area is recommended or going to a supervised venue. This way, you can meet like-minded people and pick up some essential safety advice and tips first-hand, which may lessen any feelings of being overwhelmed.
PHYSICAL HEALTH BENEFITS
Any form of exercise is fundamental when trying to improve your fitness levels. But open water swimming can progress your health much more than just losing a few pounds!
Unless swimming in warmer climates, the water temperature tends to be much colder than what you would find in a swimming pool. Furthermore, water temperatures tend to drop even more during the winter months.
This colder sensation can improve your circulation as blood hurries to your organs to keep you warm. As your body works to stay warm quickly, open water swimming can also improve metabolism as it will use your body’s stored fat as a source of energy to maintain a healthy temperature.
GOOD FOR THE BRAIN
As you swap the indoor scenery for beautiful outdoor landscapes, there’s no doubt that you will feel more relaxed. Numerous studies show that humans feel calm in natural settings, and they help to reduce stress levels and improve your overall mood. This can help you build protection against more serious mental health issues such as depression.
CHALLENGES YOUR MINDSET
Especially in the colder months, open water swimming becomes much more than the physical demands of your body. It challenges your mentality and pushes you to develop a more determined mindset.
Putting your mind to it and ensuring you swim throughout the year will build up your determination and focus, allowing you to feel more in control and perform better in your professional and personal life, which can be very empowering.
With an improvement of stress levels, reduced physical pain, re-balanced hormones and decreased anxiety, cold seawater is also responsible for rousing up your parasympathetic nervous system (PNS), which is responsible for feelings of calm and relaxation, allowing your body to mend itself as well as improve feelings of zen. With your body working, your mind focused, and your PNS boosted, this will undoubtedly help you sleep at night.
INCREASES YOUR ENDORPHINS
Especially during cold winter temperatures, the body releases endorphins when hit with cold water. Endorphins are used by the body to calm the sharp feeling that arises when shocked with cold temperatures. These hormones help release pain and decrease stress levels, improving your overall well-being and sense of self.
Swimming in cold water forces your body to keep warm, which also boosts your metabolic rate, resulting in more calories burnt while resting and active. A high metabolism is an advantage if you’re looking to lose weight, and makes it easier to maintain weight while eating more of those healthy foods.
You just need your swim costume on a hot day and your open water swimming wetsuit during colder weather. Remember your swimming goggles, swim cap and towel, and you’re ready to go! Our guide to open water swimmingdetails the open water swimming gear you’ll need.
All your gear will fit neatly into a rucksack; you don’t have to worry about loading and unloading a car with extra equipment or think about public transport logistics in holiday locations during busy summer months, for example.
YOU CAN EXPLORE
Especially during summer, open water swimming is the perfect excuse to get out and explore all the beautiful locations in the UK. Think of all those glorious lakes and beaches you would like to see and make the most of them while working on your open water swimming technique!
Hopefully, we have supplied you with enough reason to try open water swimming, starting by easing yourself in this summer! What do you like about swimming? Let us know on our social media channels.