How To Prepare Yourself For Cold Water Swimming?

03/07/2019

Cold water swimming is often performed during winter, and you swim in a pool or lake when the water remains colder less than 5 degree Celsius. Swimming in icy-cold water provides amazing health benefits such as boosting up your immune system, burning out extra calories, reducing stress and enhancing blood circulation.

You will find regular cold water swimmers because it increases your life expectancy. Apart from all health benefits, swimming in chilled water can be occasionally dangerous if not taken proper precaution. Some may find it difficult to cope with the frigid condition. So it is essential to prepare for cold water swimming to avoid putting your health into risk.

To make sure you are splashing in cool water safely, you must dress in with the proper essential gears.

  • Put on two swim caps – When water remains chill, you may face difficulty in breathing. You will lose heat through your head. So the better option remains wearing two swim caps to block heat escaping from your head.
  • Go for neoprene clothing’s – However, the material neoprene adds insulation keeping your body warm than any other stuff. Cold water swimmers prefer picking up neoprene swimming trunk, booties, gloves and socks because they allow you to swim faster and it won’t lessen haul.
  • Earplugs are must-have – Live swimming caps remain essential, earplugs are must-have. When the water remains cool, ear plugs work effectively keeping your body temperature up. They are good enough to absorb heat.
  • Shop the right wetsuit – For safety reason, make sure you wear a full covered wetsuit when splashing in chilled water. Choose neoprene material since it has added insulation that can keep your body warm in cold water. Neoprene enhances buoyancy, keeping your body positioned high in water and by helping you to swim faster. You need to buy a wetsuit that’s 5 or 6 mm sturdy, also sealed to preserve body heat in water. Broad and hefty wetsuit may lack flexibility so go for one which has in-built panels in it support your body while swimming. The wetsuit should snug fit around your neck, wrist, torso, and ankles.
  • For extra protection wear gloves and socks – If the water freezes from 9 degree Celsius to 16 degree Celsius or lower, you must put on extra accessories. Neoprene gloves and socks are the best alternatives to keep your hand and leg from going numb.

Steps to get prepared for cold water swimming!

1. Have cold showers regularly

You may not take the bit of advice genuine, but the easy thing you can follow is to take cold showers daily as a part of preparing your body for cold showers. You can try this a few weeks before you swim. Taking a cold bath can acquaint yourself with the feeling.

2. Warm up and perform stretching for 15-20 minutes to reduce the impact

It is very important to perform stretching exercise, preparing your body for strenuous activity. You can do jumping jacks repeatedly or go for brisk walking. Stretch out your muscles and allow your heart your pump before you leap into the frozen water. Warming up is vital especially for cold water splashing. It could minimize the impact of inevitable shock you may experience when leaping into chilled water.

3. Plunge into water

Initially, when you get in contact with cold water, your body may experience shock which may lead to shortness of breath. So never dive into icy-cold water. Go slowly to waist-deep, keeping your head above the water surface. This would avert gulping water into your lungs. At a slow pace, move into the water, and once water touches your hip level, you may dip your face into the chilled water by blowing air out through the mouth.

Panting or puffing can make you anxious but keep calm and relax for a while; you will be normal within a minute. However, raise your head when you need to breathe again and repeat this step a few times.

4. Strengthen yourself slowly

You should never dive straight into freezing water because it may put you into trauma. Diving in cold water remains risky, and this may even lead to hypothermia. So once your body responds normally to the chilled water, you should slowly start building up your strength. You should be able to swim a few kilometres in the pool easefully. Swimming in chilled water demands enough energy so you must swiftly deplete your strength.

Frozen water induce heat away from the body faster than the cold breeze, so when your body tries to recuperate that heat, it forces your heart to beat harder. Further, this may cause you to get exhausted quickly. At that time, you shouldn’t push further hard to swim to cover up more distance. Take a break a few minutes and increase the duration slowly.

5. Recognize your limit

Outdoor swimming includes high-risk regardless of how robust and experienced you are. So make sure you are aware of the signs of hypothermia. Initially, you may feel cold, but within a few minutes of swimming, your body will adapt to the chillness. However, if you still feel frigid while swimming and if your muscles get fatigued, you feel shivery, tired and finds difficulty in breathing, get out of the water instantly. Make sure you spot the signs and take action quickly.

6. Get trained regularly to keep acclimating

You should train consistently, three to four times per week. You must follow the thirty-minute session at least four times per week. Gradually get into the water for a short period. Later, once you are acclimated to the temperature, you must try swimming for twenty minutes. You must be able to swim in water under 21 degrees Celsius for a few minutes. Slowly increase the amount of time you swim. If you struggle to breathe, hop out of the water.

7. Go for an ice bath

If you are not comfy to cold water sources, you should go for an ice bath. Put lots of ice into the water and check the temperature. Take ice bath four times per week. Swimming outdoors likes lake and oceans also provide great training for cold water swimming.

8. Warm up and recover

Once you are out of the water, the body temperature will start declining. Get dried and cloth perfectly in warm layers. Have a hot drink or soup and keep moving to regain your regular body temperature. Remember, don’t take hot bath or shower once you are out from the cold water as this can cause a sudden drop of blood pressure, resulting in fainting or poor circulation to major organs.

As a part of preparing yourself for cold water swimming, you can start the training sessions during summer. Keep it up until the weather changes and gradually gets colder. This would make you feel chilled water amiable.

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