Tips for winter swimming
New to wild swimming? Only swum during the summer?
Here are some top tips for anyone thinking about winter wild swimming:
Go with experienced winter swimmers
We would strongly advise trying it out with an experienced cold water swimmer until you are completely confident of your own abilities.
The Outdoor Swimming Society has a great list of local swimming groups which is well worth checking out and a quick search on Facebook should provide results.
Take a lot of warm clothes, layers are a good idea.
Take a hot drink -- this is the safest way to warm your body up after a swim.
Have the right kit -- we would recommend 3mm neoprene gloves and socks and of course a Turtleback outdoor swimming changing bag but these aren't essential. Have a read of our Wild Swim Kit list to get started.
Get in the water slowly - don't jump in or dive in - this can cause gasping and cold water shock which can be dangerous. Take your time.
Don't stay in too long until you are sure of your limits. The general rule is only stay in as many minutes as the degrees in temperature - so if it's 5 degrees don't stay in longer than 5 minutes.
Get dressed quickly as soon as you get out
You can often feel glowing and warm when you first get out of the water, don't be deceived, as the blood leaves your vital organs and rushes back out to your skin you may feel a deep internal chill. This is called after drop. It feels a bit like your insides are made of menthol. If this happened it's likely your body will probably start to shake to try and warm you up as fast as possible -- getting dressed with the shakes is hard.
Get dry and dressed as soon as you get out of the water so if you do get after drop you are already dressed and warming up with a hot drink and cake!
It also helps to have you clothes organised in advance so you don't waste time frantically trying to find where you left your pants.
Warm up slowly
Don't get into a hot shower after a cold water swim, it's temping but it can be dangerous, warm up slowly with a hot drink and lots of warm clothes.
Above all - Enjoy!
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