Updated: Feb 23
As a keen open-water swimmer and cold-water dipper, I've found many benefits from swimming outside. I've seen an improvement in my well-being, energy, and sleep. My immune system seems to strengthen when I regularly swim during the cold months.
💻 Get away from your screen.
Swimming outdoors or indoors, for that matter, means you can take a break from the computer screen of your smartphone! You can sort through your thoughts and focus your mind without annoying distractions.
😴 Better sleep.
Open-water swimming can result in a natural increase in the levels of a particular hormone called prolactin in the body, which may help improve your sleep quality.
😁 Increased happiness.
Hormones that stimulate the thyroid have been shown to increase by more than 50% after swimming. Wild swimming has all kinds of benefits in regulating weight, body temperature, and muscle strength, but it also can improve your mood, making you both healthier and happier.
🤝 Expanding Your Social Circle
The social benefits are great! It's easy to find groups of open-water swimmers and cold-water dippers who get together regularly to enjoy a pleasant swim. You don't have to participate in the sport to race or even be competitive; you can do it for the sheer enjoyment of being out there.
🩸 It improves your circulation.
Cold water swimming flushes your veins, arteries, and capillaries. It forces blood to the surface and helps to warm our extremities.
😟 It reduces stress
Cold water swimming places stress on the body physically and mentally. Many studies have identified the link between cold water and stress reduction. Cold water swimmers become calmer and more relaxed.
🌊 Sea water contains skin-friendly minerals.
Sea water contains a whole host of healthy minerals, including sodium, magnesium, calcium and sulphate, which are great for your skin. Medical professionals often recommend that people with conditions such as eczema or dry skin take salt water baths or swim in the sea as this is proven to increase skin hydration and relieve the symptoms of these conditions.
🥶 Increased metabolism.
'When you swim outdoors, your body has to work hard to stay warm. The colder the water, the harder your body works to convert fat to energy. Consequently, you burn more calories. When this is coupled with your swim workout, the calorie burn can be increased significantly.'
🌳 One with nature.
Unlike the local swimming pool, going out into the ocean gives a real sense of adventure and freedom; it's a unique experience. Open water swimming is more challenging and, therefore, much more rewarding with no floor or sides to rely on.
The natural backdrops of open water swims make them all the more breathtaking. Swimming in the cold water of a coast, lake or deep ocean is so energizing and invigorating; many feel their day hasn't started unless they've had their morning dip!
🙏 It's a mindfulness practice.
For many wild swimmers, their daily dip is also a moving meditation. When you're swimming through cold water, all you can think about is the intense sensations in your body and the movement of the water around you. Everything you were worrying about before your swim slips away for a little while.
Alert and energized, adjusting to the changing conditions, you're brought firmly into the present moment. That's another skill you can take back into daily life – helping you face other challenges.
🏆 It helps create a sense of achievement.
Open water and cold water swimming will help you develop a sense of achievement. Only a few people think they are brave enough to try swimming outside, let alone cold water dipping. Being part of an exclusive club is excellent for personal growth.