Wild Swimming and the Benefits of Cold Water Therapy
What are the benefits of cold water therapy?
Cold-swimming sounds unconventional and honestly a little frightening, however, there are so many great reasons to try it out. There are vast studies that prove to immerse in cold water whether it be a shower, bath or swim is incredibly beneficial to your body. Not only is it fantastic for you but it is a reason for you to get out of the house and challenge yourself. You might even find it to be more exhilarating than you would have imagined, many swimmers can attest to it!
Lowers high blood pressure
Cools down the body up to 2x faster after workout or summer heat.
Decreases soreness and inflammation especially for athletes by taking an ice bath after exercise.
Lower concentrations of homocysteine, high levels are linked to heart disease. Improved immunity against certain illnesses and infections. Cold-water swimmers have a 40% lower chance of contracting upper respiratory tract infectious diseases than warm swimmers.
There are many promising studies relating cold water being an antidepressant and relaxant. One paper on cold water swimming benefits and risks speaks of a 24-year-old woman with severe depression and anxiety treated with cold water swimming therapy no longer felt she needed medication.
Releases endorphins, also known as the happy hormone.
Increased alertness and energy levels.
Lower heart rate by up to 15%, this creates a sense of calmness for those with anxiety
Blue Health is a growing global movement that began in January 2016. Since then it has expanded research, built more discussions and gained popularity throughout the years. Blue Health consists of a 4-year long study of the effects living close to water has on the health of people. The Blue Health study, which surveyed over 18,000 people across Europe found a strong correlation between those living by the coast being more relaxed and healthier than those living further from the coast or bodies of water. It just shows that being closer to the water encourages us to be more active which in turn improves our physical health while also creating a sense of calmness which in turn helps with stress levels.
Blue Mind is a book written by Dr Wallace J Nichols that passionately speaks of the positive effects that water can have on our emotional, psychological and physical health. Just by being close to the water the mind goes into a meditative state and makes us calmer and happier, he calls water ‘medicine’. We all have our ‘water’, which is our calm and happy place. Whether it be in your bathtub or swimming in the ocean, our body craves the water to give us a sense of relaxation.
Wild Swimming Spots in the UK
Here are some of the top wild swimming spots in England to get your fix of cold-water swimming.
River Thames, Pangbourne, Berkshire.
Close to London only a 1hr 20 by transport or drive! Lovely countryside views despite being so close to the capital.
The Grantchester Meadows, Cambridgeshire.
The river is shallow so it is great for new swimmers who are just starting out. Also, home to The Orchard Tea Garden which poet Rupert Brooke spent time in.
Lake Windermere, Lake District
It’s recommended to go on a trail before taking a dip, it is well worth the trip with its stunning views. Also, one of many lakes in the district worth checking out!
Janet’s Foss, Malham, North Yorkshire
A cold waterfall and bathing pool, best to go in the winter though to avoid the swarm of visitors. It is also prone to drying up in the summer heatwaves.
If you’re eager to join a cold-water swimming community, these are a few of our favourites.
Outdoors Swimming Society is great as it has a news board on all things outdoor swimming, events and survival techniques for cold-water swimming.
The Cold Water Community on Instagram combines posts about some real cold-water swimmers, tips on swimming and their benefits. Although they are fairly new, they also have a Facebook group worth getting in touch with them for.
Cold Water Collective on Instagram is fantastic if you live around Boscombe near Bournemouth. They join together to swim for the days you just don’t want to swim alone, just shoot them a DM!
Open Water Swimming UK, a public Facebook group where members can ask questions and share tips on open and cold-water swimming.
Outdoor Swimmer, a magazine you can subscribe to that provides events, venues, tips on safe swimming and training! Outdoorswimmer.com