Cold Water Swimming Questions Answered

October 25, 2023
5 min read

Are you considering taking the plunge into the invigorating world of cold-water swimming? Whether you're a seasoned open-water enthusiast or a curious beginner, the prospect of submerging yourself in chilly waters can be both exhilarating and, let's face it, a tad daunting. Fortunately, you're not alone on this aquatic adventure. 

At Divers Cove, your friendly local open-water swimming lake, we've got you covered.

In our quest to demystify wintery waters, we've compiled a comprehensive guide to address the 15 most commonly asked questions about cold water swimming. Whether you're wondering about the health benefits, essential gear, or safety precautions, or just seeking tips to ease the transition, we’re here to help. So, grab your swimsuit, prepare to embrace the chill, and let's dive into the world of cold water swimming, one question at a time!

How is cold water swimming good for you?

Cold water swimming has gained popularity in recent years, and for good reason. Not only is it a refreshing experience, but it also offers a myriad of health benefits. Firstly, the cold water stimulates your body's natural response, causing blood vessels to constrict and improving circulation. This can lead to better cardiovascular health and increased endurance. Secondly, the shock of the cold water triggers the release of endorphins and adrenaline, which can boost your mood and leave you feeling energised. Additionally, cold water swimming has been shown to improve respiratory function. 

Can cold water swimming be bad for you?

Many might find taking a dip in icy waters intimidating. But is it actually bad for you? The answer may surprise you. There are actually numerous health benefits associated with cold water swimming - such as a boosted immune system and increased resistance to illness, so it’s actually good for you. 

However, if you have an underlying medical condition, you will need to check with your doctor that wild swimming is safe for you. Some other safety considerations to take into account include making sure that you’re a strong swimmer, have the correct clothing and are acclimated to cold water. 

Is cold water swimming good for high blood pressure?

Cold water swimming is seen by many as a form of natural therapy for various health conditions, including high blood pressure. Many people believe that the shock of cold water can help lower blood pressure and improve overall cardiovascular health. 

Does cold water swimming burn calories?

Put simply - yes! Swimming is a full-body workout, meaning that it’s a great way to get fit without putting too much strain on your joints. This, combined with the additional work your body does to keep you warm in the cooler temperatures can increase your metabolism and burn additional calories.

So… Can cold water swimming help you lose weight?

As burning calories goes hand-in-hand with weight loss, this is also a yes. However, this should be part of a balanced diet and exercise routine to get the best possible results. 

Can cold water swimming make you tired?

Struggling to get a good night’s sleep? We’ve got good news for you. If anxious thoughts keep you tossing and turning at night, wild swimming can actually encourage feelings of relaxation, helping you to fall asleep more easily. Plus, if you’ve had a good swimming session in the water, chances are that you feel naturally more tired due to all of the exercise you’ve done. 

Our top tip? Combine a dip in the cooling waters of our lake with warming up in our handcrafted wooden sauna pods for the ultimate relaxation session. 

What does cold water swimming do to your body?

Immersing your body in cold water has a wide range of effects on your body, these include improved circulation, increased alertness, endorphin release and immune system stimulation.

What to wear when swimming in cold water?

We ask that swimmers joining us for our winter season wear a suitable winter swimming wetsuit with proper insulation, a neoprene, brightly coloured swim hat and a tow float. 
We’d also strongly recommend using earplugs and wearing winter swimming socks and gloves, as well as having warm, dry clothes to change into once you’re finished in the water. Many swimmers opt to use a DryRobe when getting out of the water as these keep you nice and warm whilst you get changed.

How to begin cold water swimming?

If you’ve tried open water swimming before, but only in summer, we’d strongly recommend gradual acclimatisation throughout the year. Start swimming with us when the water is warmer during the peak summer months, then carry on as the temperatures drop in autumn, right through to winter. 

How to cope with cold water swimming?

For those new to open-water swimming, cold water can feel like quite a shock. We’d recommend gradual acclimatisation, wearing the correct clothing, swimming with a friend and knowing your limits - if you’re too cold then step out of the water and warm up immediately. 

Why is cold water swimming good for mental health?

Open-water swimming, particularly cold water therapy, has been championed by many as a natural helper for better mental health. This is because when you swim in cold water, your body produces endorphins. 

The act of plunging into cooler temperatures can also give a “natural high”; boosting alertness and reducing anxiety, stress and depression. 

Is cold water swimming bad for a cold?

Whilst cold water swimming can help boost your immune system, we would not recommend trying this when you already have a cold. This is because your body is already hard at work to fight off any illness, and you may have more difficulties warming back up again. 

Is cold water swimming good for arthritis?

Some arthritis sufferers find that cold water therapy reduces pain and inflammation, and being in cold water can also provide a temporary numbing effect on painful joints. 

Is cold water swimming dangerous?

When you take the proper precautions, cold water swimming is not dangerous. To swim safely in cold water, always make sure you’re wearing the proper gear, warm up safely after your swim with a hot drink and warm clothing, know your limits and most importantly, choose a dedicated open water swimming venue that has experienced, trained lifeguards on site for all swims, such as our Divers Cove. 

Where can I go for cold water swimming?

Looking for an open water swimming venue near you? Look no further! We’re based in Godstone, Surrey and welcome members for year-round swimming. Our friendly community includes swimmers of a wide range of ages and abilities, with many members travelling from London for a relaxing escape from the city centre!

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