Autumn / Winter swims are (in my opinion!) the best swims of the year. With that cool, fresh water exposed to your skin, the sun low in the sky producing beautiful sun rises & sets - it's really hard to beat.
I've listed some top info below on how it works. You can experience the rest by booking a cold water workshop with me, an STA Level 2 open water swimming coach, Open water swimmer of 27 years and now entering my 12th year of full winter skins swimming by clicking below..
(Sessions held Nov - March)
Officially exposure to water below 15 degrees for cold water and below 5 degrees for ice swimming. It can be a five minute dip, a 15 min swim, you can do it in your swimming costume or in a wetsuit - whatever suits you best is the best way for you. Any (safe) body of water is fine, Seas, rivers, lakes, reservoirs, estuaries - they all count.
Exposure to cold water is known to provide a huge raft of physical and mental health benefits - such as;
Boosts your immune system
Treatment for anxiety & depression
Helps with arthritis by reduction of inflammation - in fact any inflammation based illness or injury.
Blue / green therapy
A great way to socialise and make new friends - open water swimmers are the friendliest bunch of people I've ever met!
As your body learns to cope with the cold water shock response it is widely believed to generate a "cross conditioning" whereby your body is more easily able to cope with life's other general stresses.
So really, the question is - why on earth wouldn't you?!
Some bravery & determination!
Wetsuit / surf shortie - optional. It's up to you if you wear a wetsuit or not. They will make you more buoyant in the water and keep you warmer for longer so they are safer - you'll usually be able to stay in for longer in a suit too, so if you want to swim for a little longer for exercise then consider it. If you're wanting a quick dip then it's less of a need. Forget the online brigade that tell you swimming "skins" is the only way - you swim however you want and feel comfortable. Personally I do a bit of both. For the full benefits of cold water exposure you need the water in full contact with your skin so for the complete high and rush of the experience, skins works best, but you also may only be able to stay in the water a few minutes so there's benefits to both. Again, and finally, do what suits you best!
Goggles - if you want to put your face in the water
Towel - 1 for drying plus another to stand on to get changed or an old bath mat. The ground can be very cold so it's really nice to have something soft and warm to stand on whist changing.
Something to change under in public - such as a towel robe / poncho / long coat - something along those lines.
Warm clothes - suitable for the days weather, but specifically lots of loose fitting, easy to put on layers for effective rewarming post-swim. Tight fitting clothes with lots of zips, buttons or fasteners can be difficult to put on when your hands are freezing!
Bobble hats - are great for keeping warm post-swim as are warm gloves when we're in to winter
Cake - Whilst not a specific requirement it is strongly advised :-)
On the day I will bring some other things with me for you to try out / discuss such as tow floats, neoprene gloves / boots. You'll also get a free high quality silicone swim cap with your session
Pretty much.. I wouldn't recommend it for young children, and if you have any particular health issue that may be worsened by increased blood pressure / elevated heart rate (as this is what will occur when you enter the water) please speak to your GP first. Other than that, it's an activity for all.
Winter "swimming" should really be called winter "dipping" as that is what most people do. A short dip staying within their depth, so no great swimming ability needed for a coached session - I will be alongside you in the water the whole time.
NB - I'd advise anyone that cannot swim to consider learning in the future - it's a vital life skill!
It is scientifically proven that only around 10% of information given during a coached session is retained.
To that end, as having the right knowledge to set off on your cold water adventures is so important I offer a cold water package in two parts - it looks a little like this;
2 x separate 45 min sessions either at Chalkwell Beach or The River Chelmer
Sessions broken down as;
15 mins dry land briefing covering all safety aspects including tides, streams, currents, weather conditions, water quality, kit. Preparing to get in, and preparing to get out.
(up to) 15 / 20 mins in water - dependent on the current water temperatures and your own level of adaption to the cold water. We'll keep moving about but also talk about cold water effects on the body during entry and signs of hypothermia to look out for whilst we're in.
10 / 15 mins - As we exit the water we'll discuss "afterdrop", re-warm, change and debrief over a warm drink and some cake!
On completion of your sessions I'll back up all the shared info in writing for you to have to refer to forever. You'll already have my number by now but to confirm your booked session has opened up a lifetime of free advice and questions from me anytime. I run a small facebook group purely for those people that have swum with me that you will now have access to for coach tips, advice and an exclusive group of friendly, knowledgeable people for the organising of social swims
Also you'll receive an E certificate in recognition of earning your "cold water wings"
All this for only £65 - hit the button below to start your journey...
Fancy a dip??