Help Boost Your Immune System with an Open Water Swim
In the UK, as well as across the World, governments are taking measures to help deter the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The people most at risk are the elderly and those with underlying health issues. But if you’re fit and well, believe it or not, but an open water swim will help to boost your immune system.
And you don’t have to take our word for it. A survey by scientists in Czechoslovakia has reported that immersing yourself in cold water for an hour, three times a week increases your white blood cell count, which boosts your immune system, meaning less colds through winter, despite regularly dipping yourself in icy cold water.
Additional Health Benefits of an Open Water Swim
As well as boosting your immune system, further benefits to dipping into open water swimming include:
- Burning calories: when you submerge yourself in cold water, your body responds physically. As your heart rate and blood pressure increases, this creates a higher metabolic rate, so energy turnover increases too. Also, from a weight management perspective, we burn calories more rapidly in cold environments.
- Releasing your happy hormones: any type of exercise releases the dopamine (or happy hormone) levels in your body. And you’ll get an even greater surge of happy hormones when you exercise outdoors when compared to indoors, and that’s particularly true of open water swimming. (Read more here).
- Combatting depression: scientists believe that exercise in general can have a positive effect on depression as creates a positive mood (BJM Journals report). What’s more, exercise can also help to improve energy levels as well as reducing weariness and depression and open water swimming is particularly effective when it comes to mood and having a positive impact on depression.
Keeping Warm in Cold Waters
That said, it’s still important to keep as protected and as warm as possible when swimming in cold waters to ensure you don’t develop hypothermia whilst in the water and when you get out.
At Sharks Swim & Triathlon, we recommend a number of essential products for open water swimmer to achieve just that – keeping safe and warm in and out of the water. These include:
- A wetsuit – the first and most vital product you will need. Please note it’s important to have your wetsuit fitted properly so it’s the right size for you. A suit that is too big will let in water and one that is too small, will hamper your ability to swim.
- Skull cap – keeping your head warm is very important when it comes to cold water swimming as this is the area which stays above the water letting out the most heat from your body. Many open water swimmers double up on caps during colder periods by wearing either 2 neoprene caps or 1 neoprene and 1 silicone cap over each other.
- Swim socks, booties and gloves: keeping your extremities warm is also a good idea if you want to really enjoy your cold water swim. We stock a range of these items including gloves, socks and booties which will ensure your fingers and toes don’t turn blue!
- Neoprene rash vest: you may feel warm and snug in your wetsuit when you first put it on but once you hit the water it’s a different matter. We highly recommend open water swimmers also invest in a neoprene rash vest for extra warmth around the torso, particularly if you are not used to the cold water and need to acclimatise with a good few swims first.
- Dry Robes or Swimzis: when you get out of the water you need to keep warm too. Having a hot drink ready is a good idea but you may also want to think about other snugly warm clothes such as a dry robe (which can also double as changing robe) or Swimzi suit which are designed specifically for swimmers and made from cotton rich jersey.
- Hats and hoods: it's very important to dry your ears and then cover up with a Swimzi Super bobble hat or Dryrobe beanie on asap after your swim, to keep the head warm and protect the ears
Sharks Swim & Triathlon
In addition to the above products, at Sharks Swim & Triathlon we stock a huge range of cold water swimming essentials. You can find our full product range online or call into our shop in Sketty Cross Swansea for advice and guidance: