Why do we do it and why do we get such a high off it?
Starting off as a bit of a fad, like most things do, Wild Swimming became a rediscovered craze amongst the pandemic madness. Whilst not new to the world, it has become considerably more popular over the last couple of years with many individuals jumping on the band wagon, and even joining and forming wild swimming clubs.
From John O’Groats to Lands End, people have been taking to waters like ducks. Whether you choose to be a floater or an ambitious freestyler, it seems that this pastime is here to stick around.
Being Wild Cornwall, we love everything a bit wild and avant-garde. Jumping in the ice-cold sea or a chilly river fills us with nothing but excitement. Whether you’ve been pressured into it (which we don’t condone!) or you choose to do it, it can provide such relief, both mentally and physically.
Why is Wild Swimming so good?
There are multiple benefits to the physique that this slightly dreaded, but invigorating hobby can do for us. Maybe you’ve just finished your hike and an inviting lake awaits and you’re tempted to go for a dip.
Is it a challenge, is it to stimulate you mentally are or you doing it for recovery purposes?
At Wild Cornwall, we most often assume that people do this for fun. A few of us at Wild Cornwall love going with our friends and making it a social occasion. Pop in for a bit of a swim, or a squeal with our hands raised up above water, run back out and crack open the thermos. We LOVE that it can be a social activity, that’s why we designed Wild Swimmers. Pack up your bag with your tea infusion which we’ve made to suit the season, your lip rescue balm to prevent your lips from getting chapped from the sea breeze and your muscle rub, bringing your muscles back to life afterwards.
After being limited to what we can do for so long, it feels so nice to be back out enjoying freedom and immersing ourselves into that cold body of water. It’s easy to count the physical benefits of cold-water swimming but research has also shown that it can boost your mental health. 1 in 6 people report experiencing a common mental health problem each week and there is encouraging research on the impact wild swimming has on our minds:
- Improved Stress Response
- Confidence & Courage
- Increased dopamine
Being brave and jumping into the elements is exactly what we need. Letting our hair down and allowing our minds to escape normality for just a short period of time is good for the soul.
Physically, cold water therapy is very good for you. It will help to reduce muscle soreness and inflammation, leading to quicker recovery. Inflammation is something that 750 million of the western world suffer with. That seems like a big percentage to comprehend, and you may think “that’s not me”, but it may well be. Your body becomes inflamed to protect your body from infection, injury, or disease, without you even knowing it!
Besides from aiding inflammation its great at improving:
- Blood flow
- Boost immune system
Like most physical activities there must be a level of safety. Whether you’re in the sea, river or lake there must be precautions you take to ensure you’re safe whilst having fun. Hyperthermia and cold-shock exist. Outdoor swimming can sap the heat from within you and begin to reduce your swimming ability. The body does this by contracting muscles. Entering cold water can be quite a shock, ease yourself into it, allowing your heart rate to adjust accordingly.
Whenever a team member from Wild Cornwall goes swimming, we ensure to not go on our own. You never know what may happen so it’s best to have company. Check out the RNLI’s tips on open water swimming.
Either way, be brave and enjoy yourself. The high you’ll feel from a freezing cold swim will be wild, and don’t forget your Wild Swimmers Gift Set, with your tea infusion to warm you up!