With swimming pools being closed due to covid-19 restrictions there has been a huge boom in outdoor swimming. Many people are continuing to swim outside even in December and January when water temperatures are dropping to 3 degrees. It seems like a totally crazy thing so here are some good reasons to give it a go.
1. Exposing yourself to a wider range of temperatures and weather conditions can build your experience and help to boost your confidence and knowledge of what open water swimming feels like. The more knowledge you have of what it feels like and what you can deal with the easier it will get. So come the summer race season you’ll have more confidence and feel less stressed by difficult conditions.
2. It’s a physical and mental challenge that can help your mental toughness by giving plenty of opportunities to practice strategies for dealing with stress and negative self-talk
3. It can boost your mental well-being. Many people who struggle with mental well-being and experience depression or anxiety report that cold water swimming really helps. Being in the outdoors is good for your mental well-being. And being near water in particular is good for you.
4. It will help you to practice and develop routines for dealing with the cold because you’ll have more opportunities to practice.
5. You’ll get climatisation and tolerance to the cold. This will make it easier for you to deal with early season races and will make temperatures that previously felt cold feel easier.
6. Extend your open water season. Cold water tolerance will help you to start swimming earlier in the season and continue later giving you more swimming and racing options. If you want to do a long open water swim such as The Dart 10km or a channel relay or even a solo channel swim then swimming through winter will help your cold water tolerance so that it feels warmer in the summer and you’re better able to deal with 16 degrees.
7. It’s a physical activity that doesn’t have a target, time, pace or effort attached to it. It has no particular outcome – it’s just mindful movement. Unlike a lot of my other triathlon training and physical activity.
8. It can boost your awareness of your body in new and different ways. The sensations that you experience from the cold water can really increase your sensitivity and mindfulness of your body
9. It’s fun! There’s a thrill about doing something that feels a little bit crazy and also something that lots of other people can’t do.
10. For me winter swimming is a social thing and I do it because I like being with my friends. I go for the social and the chat and camaraderie in and around the water.
For more tips about how to get started with winter swimming head over to the YouCanTri Podcast and listen to episodes 1, 23, 24, 25