Swimming is great for both your body and your mind but have you tried outdoor swimming?
I know, I know OUTDOOR SWIMMING?! IN AUTUMN?! Are you mad?!
But hear us out...
There are lots of benefits to outdoor swimming, improved circulation and immune system, better moods just to name a few.
So what better time to try something new than on #GetOutsideDay?
Get Outside Day takes place on Sunday 26th September which celebrates the great outdoors and aims to inspire the nation and help more people get outside more. The celebration also focuses on the positive impacts physical outdoor activity has on our physical, mental and social well-being and naturally, Zoggs’ are welcoming this event with open arms.
A bit about Cath -
Cath started swimming at a young age, always outside in the school holidays in the river or in the sea and then finding herself back in swimming pools and even having a go at triathlon events.
By participating in these events, Cath rediscovered her love for open water swimming and completed her first ever open water swim event in August 2013 (2km Estuary swim). Since then, Cath has not looked back, she began to find more open water events to get stuck into and started to do longer distances 5km, 10km which ignited her love and passion for the open water.
In September 2015, Cath wanted to go one step further and ditched her wetsuit for a Zoggs Swimsuit and discovered her passion for winter/ice swimming.
“I absolutely love winter/ice swimming, it is almost like my “Reset Button”, I am always happy in the winter - I’ve not had a cold since I started! ``Make me happy, by just adding cold water!’”.
If like Cath, you want to step outside your comfort zone and try outdoor swimming this Get Outside Day, here are her top 7 tips to get you started.
Cath’s top 7 tips for getting started with Outdoor Swimming
- Do your research
Be aware when you look for advice as there is a lot of information out there, and unfortunately not all is the best advice, be sure that it is from a reputable source, e.g. Open Water Swimmer Magazine.
- All the gear, some idea
Now you have an idea of what Outdoor Swimming is about, you’ve got to now look the part too. Make sure that you are wearing appropriate swimwear, otherwise you will be rather chilly. I always opt for my Zoggs suit, but you could wear a wetsuit to keep warm. You can find some suits here - https://www.zoggs.com/en_GB/outdoor-swimming
- Buddy up!
Never go alone. Swim where it is safe and you know you can get in and out of the water easily.
- If you can afford to, book a 1:1 session for introduction to open water or with a small group. Some swim venues offer a buddy swimmer too.
- Find a group if you can, part of the fun for me is that I love the social interaction with friends. There are many groups around that you can find via social media.
- Be safe, be seen!
Use a tow float, weather can change quickly in the winter (do not swim in thick fog or if thunder is forecast) so make sure that you are visible to onlookers.
- Don’t shock yourself
Never dive or jump in as cold water can cause gasping of breath and cold water shock.
- To help reduce cold shock, when getting into the water, splash your face and back of neck with water and make sure your breathing is relaxed before submerging.
PRO TIP: You could start with some head up breaststroke. (A trick that works for me, is to sing and I also think warm thoughts, so you will hear me singing “Club Tropicana” or “Feeling Hot Hot Hot sometimes).
- Be prepared that you may only be in for a couple of minutes - remember, it’s always best to ease yourself in!
- Listen to your body
Get out when you are ready, it is really important to listen to your own body and do your own swim as every day is different. If I’m not feeling it I get out (tiredness, wind chill, hunger, so many different things can change how you feel).
- Get your kit off
Get your wet costume/wetsuit off as soon as possible - I use a small towel to dry myself under a towel robe. Then once dressed put my super warm Charlie McLeod Robe on last.
- Time to warm up
Get dressed as quickly as possible and then chat afterwards.
- (Top tip for the ladies, forget a bra as it’s way too fiddly when your fingers are cold).
- Have lots of layers that are easy to put on and warm winter socks and a wooly hat.
- Hot drink, my personal favourite is Ribena Winter spice.
- Take a couple of hot water bottles, which I wrap up my thermal bottom and top around them inside a zip up insulated freezer bag and that warms your first layer of clothes up.
You can find out more about Cath’s story here - Cath Pendleton’s Story — Women of the New Generation