For the last couple of months I’ve sea swam more than I’ve done in the last couple years!
Come rain or shine, lake-like stillness or 6ft waves.
I haven’t forced myself to do it everyday as a challenge (as is trendy atm), I’ve just been going as & when I feel like it - which is often these days.
The sea is now so warm (18 degrees!) & my body so used to it, that today it felt like a bath (granted, after you’ve been in it an hour & it’s cooled down), it was delicious. In these pics me & my partner woke up to pouring rain & thought it would make an exhilarating swim - it did!
Cold water swimming (or showering) puts our body into ‘fight or flight’ response & releases a number of hormones - cortisol & adrenaline (in case you need to make a quick get-away), endorphins are released thanks to the exercise & also due to the cold (apparently to help us cope with the pain of the cold - so sweet, thanks body!) which makes us feel euphoric, our circulation is suddenly kicked into action to help keep us warm, & our immune system is also given a boost just in case we’re about to get injured (our body doesn’t know what caused the fight or flight response, so it does the same thing each time).
If you’re wondering why we WANT to put our body in "Fight or Flight" (AKA the Sympathetic nervous system) - it’s because over time, this reaction is lessened, and our body’s ability to cope with general stress, physically and mentally, is improved. In fact recent research has found after only 6 cold water immersions, our stress response is halved!
So if you struggle with stress, anxiety or depression, cold water swimming might seriously help, it also lowers inflammation so may help people with chronic pain/inflammation too.
If you’re going to start cold water swimming, make sure to do it safely:
✅ Talk to your doctor first if you have serious health conditions
🚫 Never go alone - and always swim near a lifeguard
✅ Take slow, deep breaths before and during so you don’t hyperventilate
🚫 Don’t jump into cold water on a hot day/when feeling hot (this can throw your body into shock and is very dangerous)
✅ Immerse yourself slowly for at least the first few times
🚫 Never drink alcohol before a swim (it lowers your body temperature and puts you at risk of hypothermia)
✅ Check the tides, only swim if the lifeguard’s flags indicate it’s safe, and watch out for riptides if sea swimming
✅ Check with your healthcare professionals first that sea swimming is right for you