Cold Water Dipping – Hints & Tips

Cold water dipping or cold water immersion is how many people, who are planning to start open water swimming, get their body acclimatised to the cold waters.  Essentially, you immerse your body in the sea or lake (or other cold water setting) for a limited period of time.

It’s important to note that you need to take the practice of cold water dipping seriously and understand what you need to do to enjoy this experience safely.  If you don’t take it seriously, then you could get hypothermia, which is caused when your body loses heat faster than it can produce heat, causing a dangerously low body temperature.  This is why you should only dip your body in cold, open waters for very short periods of time and ensure you have the correct clothing and accessories to warm back up afterwards.

Benefits of Cold Water Dipping

People have been cold water swimming or dipping for centuries across the world and in particular in Eastern Europe and the Netherlands. This is because research has identified many health benefits when it comes to this practice as follows:

  • Strengthens your immune system.
  • Improves lymphatic circulation.
  • Improves cardiovascular circulation,
  • Provides mental clarity, fortitude and calmness,
  • Affects your metabolism and activates brown fat which is a good thing.

What’s more, plunging in cold water increases norepinephrine, which is a natural painkiller and over time it stimulates the immune system, which is why cold water can be recommended for arthritis, or injuries.

Essential Items for Open Water Dipping

If you’re planning on starting to do some open water dipping or swimming, there are some essential items you will need as follows:

  • A swimsuit (you don’t need a wetsuit if you’re just dipping your body in the water for a few minutes).
  • Neoprene gloves and socks (to keep your fingers and toes warm).
  • A swim cap (you may not put your head under the water but a swim cap will keep your head warm and ensure you are visible in the water).
  • A towelling Dry Robe to put on as soon as you come out of the water to warm your body up and help you to get changed quickly and easily.
  • A bobble hat, socks and gloves (to help get your extremities warmed up).
  • Clothing that will retain heat such as a Dry Robe and/or a Swimzi (these are used by swimmers and triathletes all over the globe as the best clothing to put on following a swim event).
  • A hot drink to warm up your insides.

Essential Items for Open Water Swimming

For open water swimming, you will need all of the above plus the following:

  • A properly fitted wetsuit which offers extra protection and buoyancy in the water (though not everyone opts for a wetsuit as they are happy to swim in a costume for short distances).
  • Swap you swim cap for a skull cap which covers the ears and is guaranteed to stay on your head!
  • A tow float of some kind which is vital to help you if you get into difficulty and also means you can be seen easily by other swimmers or boats for example.

Sharks Swim & Triathlon

You can purchase all of the above items for open water swimming and dipping from our online shop here and, as soon as we can re-open, from our shop in Gorseinon.  If  you want to join our group of ladies who go cold water dipping in Langland, then email us at

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