Cold water swimming - my first dip in the chilly North-sea :-P

The north-sea was an ideal place to dabble in a bit of cold water swimming - even better when it is snowing :-)

Cold water swimming - It might sound mad - but it makes you feel great (honestly! :-)

It was in the midst of Lockdown 3.0 in the depths of a UK winter,  with my gym shut, and a need for something new health wise to get me out the house, when I stumbled across online articles about the growing popularity and benefits of cold water swimming.  

It sounded bonkers but I read about multiple-health benefits and I knew of a mate elsewhere who had tried it and said it feels amazing. Ever the one to try something new out I thought I’d give it a bash, and as I live on the North-east coast in the UK - I had no excuses really. I'm now a fully fledged convert to reap the benefits,  albeit more of a dipper & paddler than a serious sea-swimmer. Read on to find out about my initial venture into the chilly winter water and discover the health benefits for yourself!

Cold water wild swimming health benefits sea river lake ice
It might look warm here but it's 2c in the very fresh air :-) 

My first venture into the chilly north-sea for a spot of cold water swimming 

The first time I tried it was on a cold January weekend (2c in the air, 6c in the sea!) - in the middle of winter when cold water swimming opportunities are at their finest! My better half and the kids thought I was mad, but I told them about the benefits I had come across and I guess they thought it would be funny to see me in the cold North-sea! I can confirm first hand that I lived to tell the tale and there isn’t much that is more invigorating to make you feel alive and clear the cobwebs than a dip in the North-sea!

Once I stripped down to my shorts I just thought sod it and ran straight in, there was no point being tentative! It did take my breath away when my full body below the neck was submerged with the cold-shock response, but in a matter of seconds I felt ok and adapted and then it was a case of swimming (or rather paddling) around between the waves - the main idea is just to get your body immersed in the cold water really! 

Don't let the blue skies fool you - it was cold!

A couple of minutes was ok for my first dip although it felt like 3 times as long haha. But just do what you are comfortable with to build up adaptation. Your body does go into a bit of shock initially - but once it adjusts you don’t really feel the cold that much and when you come out the water the feeling is very invigorating (largely from the rush of endorphins and maybe your body being so happy it hasn’t got hyperthermia :-). 

Once out the water the key is to have a towel ready to get dry - a surfer robe ideally as this can cover your full body and keep your hands free to change under it. Once dry it’s a case of putting on warm clothes, thick coat, hat and gloves and then a nice treat is a flask of coffee or tea to get your body temperature back up! You yourself may well have heard of the growing popularity of cold-water swimming - maybe even tried it or thought about trying it - or simply think nah, it’s crackers haha

But if you are interested in trying it out and having a dip in some cold water (whether the sea or lake/river etc) then click the image link below to discover 10 of the best health benefits of cold water swimming and some useful tips to get started:

Post by Stuart Hodgson 
'The Hiking Photographer'

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