09 Feb Things You Should Know Before You Try Wild Swimming
There’s no better way to start the day than a fresh dip in cold water. The silky smooth sensation of water caressing your bare skin, the invigorating rush of dunking your head beneath the surface, the feeling of being totally immersed in nature… We can’t get enough of it! To stay safe and make the most of your aquatic adventures, here are a few things you should know before you go wild swimming.
Health benefits of wild swimming
There are many reasons why being in or around water makes you feel so good. Not only does wild swimming give you that intense natural high as endorphins (‘feel-good’ chemicals) flood your body, it also has amazing health benefits. A cold swim is said to enhance blood flow, boost the immune system and lower blood pressure. Swimming in nature is also a powerful tonic for a busy mind, bringing you into the present moment as you focus on the physical sensations of being in the water.
Where to go wild swimming
Lakes, rivers and of course the sea are the most popular places to wild swim. Look for footpaths, fords or footbridges next to a river or lake for a good jumping off spot, or head to a sheltered cove for serene sea swims. Here in Cornwall, we are spoiled for choice! On our Water Women Weekends, we’ll be taking you to our favourite wild swimming spots that are safe and easy to access.
3 Wild Swimming Tips
1. Safety First
Always let someone know where you’re going and try to avoid going alone, especially if you’re swimming off season or at secluded spots. Steer clear of urban rivers and canals, stagnant lakes or shallows with reeds and cover up cuts and wounds with waterproof plasters. Make sure you’ve found a safe way to get out before you get in. You can even wear neoprene socks and gloves to protect your hands and feet from the cold (and it’s also less painful when you get out and have to walk on numb feet!) Make sure you check out this page for more wild swimming safety tips.
2. Warm up before and after your swim
If you’re swimming without a wetsuit, it’s always a good idea to work up a bit of a sweat before jumping in. Plan a good walk to get you to the spot and make sure you’re wearing plenty of warm clothes. Once you’re in, try to persevere with the cold (that burning sensation will go away after a few minutes) but don’t pressure yourself to stay in for too long. Start slowly with a quick dip, then gradually increase the time you spend in the water each time and work your way up to a swim. Pile on the layers once you’re out and have a flask of hot tea at the ready!
3. Friends who swim together stay together!
Wild swimming experiences are better shared – that’s why we include it as one of the saltwater activities on our Water Women Weekends! Not only is it safer than going alone, swimming with friends means you can support each other if you’re a little nervous and it’s also a great way to connect with others.
There is something special about the way you feel for the rest of the day after your dip! Have you seen the Ready Brek advert where the little boy has that glow around him after he has had his breakfast? Well expect the same kind of vibe after your swim! The immersion just helps you to process the day easier. You feel a sense of accomplishment and positivity that courses through your mind and body which is really healthy, but also addictive. So beware, once you’ve tried dipping with us, you may find that it becomes an essential part of your daily routine. Click here to join one of our upcoming Water Women Weekend events!