How to Stay Warm in Cold Water
We may be much nearer summer now but outdoor pools are undoubtedly still a bit nippy. So if you are lucky enough to have your own pool and enjoy a refreshing morning swim to start off your day make sure to follow these tips to keep warm – well, less cold.
Wear More Clothing
The simple solution when you feel cold is to wear more clothing. A wetsuit, swimming cap even water shoes or boots will keep you considerably warmer in the water.
A wetsuit allows water inside but are still much warmer than a bikini or pair of swimming shorts. You can get these with fully body coverage, sleeveless or as body suits with the legs out as well. Try a few on when purchasing and see which one feels more comfortable for you.
Prevent more heat escaping your body by investing in a swimming cap and wearing water shoes or boots. Footwear will also protect your feet from getting dirty when walking to the pool. Earplugs may also be a necessity in extremely cold water as they help to keep your core temperature up.
Focus on Your Breathing
Expect to shiver as this is your body’s natural reaction in order to try and make heat. Take your mind off of this by focusing on your exhaling. Exhaling reacts to the inhale reflex which is exasperated when there is a cold shock. Emptying your lungs fully will mean you can inhale more efficiently.
Yes, this may be something that young children do but blowing bubbles can really help when
getting into cold water. Avoid the cold shock when you put your face in the water by concentrating on blowing bubbles. By thinking about this action your mind will be taken off the cold. And following on from the previous point – blowing bubbles means you are exhaling.
You may be after a leisurely swim and maybe even a float on the surface but if you pick up your stroke and kick faster you will warm up much quickly. The more effort you put in the quicker your heart will beat and the quicker blood will be pushed around your body. If you have to stop to get your breathe back never completely freeze your movement, slowly tread water with your legs instead to keep your blood pumping quickly.
The secret to not feeling the cold is to acclimatise yourself. You can do this by swimming often – at least once a week, two or three times preferably. The more you swim in the cold the less you will notice it.
Do a Warm Up
The clue is in the name. Doing a 10 minute warm up of exercises and stretches before getting in the pool will lessen the shock from the cold on your muscles and prevent them from contracting quite as much. You’ll get into the rhythm of your stroke much more quickly too.
So put a wetsuit on, put some ear plugs in and get in that pool to swim some lengths – quickly! Let us know if the tips work too.
(image: open water swimming UK)