Spring is around the corner and my second winter of wild swimming, hot chocolate drinking and laughing with friends as we dip and dive in the clear cold waters of Lake 32 in the Cotswolds is concluding.
This last year I have been lucky enough to explore and swim in Copenhagen harbours, beaches, rivers and Lake Michigan, Chicago. I’ve swam at sun rise, sunset, under a full moon, in the snow and rain and glorious sunshine.
So why wild swimming?
There’s something special about diving into a body of water that’s cold enough to take your breath away. Wild cold water swimming, or the act of swimming in natural bodies of water in colder temperatures, has been gaining popularity in recent years. Some people swear by its exhilarating effects on the body and mind. In this post, we’ll explore why wild cold water swimming is so thrilling and why you might want to give it a try.
First and foremost, cold water swimming triggers an immediate physical response in the body. As soon as you immerse yourself in cold water, your heart rate increases and your blood vessels constrict, which can lead to a sudden feeling of shock or breathlessness. However, as your body adjusts to the cold, your heart rate and breathing will normalize, and you’ll start to feel a rush of endorphins and other feel-good chemicals. This surge of hormones can create a sense of euphoria and give you a natural high.
In addition to the physical rush, there’s something incredibly freeing about swimming in the wild. Unlike swimming in a pool, where you’re limited to a rectangular area, swimming in a lake, river, or ocean allows you to explore and move more freely. You might encounter new and exciting wildlife, or discover hidden coves and beaches that you wouldn’t have found otherwise. The sense of adventure and exploration can be incredibly fulfilling.
There’s also a sense of community that comes with wild cold water swimming. Many swimmers meet up regularly to share their experiences and support one another. Whether it’s swapping tips on the best gear to wear in cold water or sharing stories of close encounters with local wildlife, there’s a sense of camaraderie that can be hard to find elsewhere.
Of course, cold water swimming isn’t without its risks. You should always be mindful of the potential dangers, such as hypothermia and currents. It’s important to be well-prepared and to never swim alone.
Overall, if you’re looking for a new way to challenge yourself and push your limits, wild cold water swimming might be just the thing you need. It’s not for everyone, but for those who are brave enough to give it a try, the rewards can be truly exhilarating. So, why not grab your wetsuit and take the plunge? Who knows what adventures might be waiting for you in the wild waters!
Woot!! You’re an inspiration and I’m glad to have seen you on the shores of Lake Michigan.