How To Get Into Cold Water Swimming

How To Get Into Cold Water Swimming

As summer starts to float off into the horizon, you might be thinking that you’ve missed the chance to enjoy swimming in open water for another year. However, the transition from August to September actually marks one of our favourite occasions here at Davy J: the chance to discover how to get into cold water swimming. 

While it can undoubtedly be harder to motivate yourself to get out and about in the autumn and winter months, cold water swimming is one of the most fulfilling outdoor pursuits you can dive into and offers mental and physical health benefits that are hard to find elsewhere. A little bit of preparation is required if you’re wondering how to get into cold water swimming, but couple our tips with a sense of adventure and you’ll catch the bug in no time.

Start Now

There’s no time like the present to start a new hobby and late summer and into September is genuinely the perfect time to start cold water swimming. The water is generally warmer at this time of year which can help you to build up your confidence in a new environment and solidify a habit before temperatures start to drop. Once it reaches October, the UK open water temperature dips below 16 degrees and this can be quite the shock to the system if you’re only used to summer temperatures or swimming in a pool.

Ease Yourself In

Spending just a few minutes in cold water is enough to unlock the benefits of this type of swimming. In fact, we wouldn’t recommend that you attempt any more than this if you are wondering how to get into cold water swimming. There’s no shame in staying in shallow patches or keeping your head and shoulders above the water, so ease yourself in and give your body the chance to acclimatise. If you need to get out quickly, that’s fine - a cold water swim is worth it even if you are only in the water for a couple of minutes.

Find A Swimming Buddy

It’s much easier to try something new when you’ve got a friendly face in tow, particularly when that activity involves voluntarily being cold! You could encourage your friends to share the experience and brave the dip with you or search for local swim groups in your area. The cold water swimming community is a hugely welcoming and friendly environment, so embrace the chance to meet like-minded people and you’ll quickly uncover a spirit that keeps you coming back for more.

Invest In The Right Kit

You don’t need a lot to get into cold water swimming but a few essentials are key. A thermos, warm socks and clothes that are easy to pull on are vital to ensuring you warm up quickly after your dip. Your body temperature will continue to drop for up to 30 minutes after you get out, so getting out of your wet kit and into something dry and warm as soon as possible is vital. Many winter swimmers prefer not to wear a wetsuit, but that’s completely up to you. There are options out there that give a little extra coverage and insulation like the Davy J Bonded Long Sleeve Swimsuit or Davy J Bonded Long Sleeve Top which are designed to bridge the gap between a swimsuit and wetsuit for chillier waters. Cosy changing robes have also become very popular amongst the wild swimming community and our favourites are the Dryrobe Advance or Pro Change by Red.

Stay Safe

There are no prizes for swimming the furthest, fastest or longest, and going to extreme lengths to do so can land you in serious danger. Always make somebody else aware of where you are going and stay visible from the shore by using a tow float. It’s better to be safe than sorry so only swim when the tide and conditions are favourable and plan your swim somewhere where entry and exit points are always within easy reach.

Keep At It

Once you’ve been in the water once or twice, you’ve done the hardest bit. All that’s left to do is to make cold water swimming a habit by going little and often. Some people try and swim every day of the week but it’s certainly not a competition and once or twice a week should be plenty to keep the bug going! Don’t beat yourself up if an especially busy time means that swimming has to take a backseat, but remember that one of the greatest benefits of cold water swimming is that it offers truly mindful respite from the busy nature of modern life.

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