BLOG: the benefits
Meg shares her thoughts on the health benefits of wild swimming and why we do it:
There is a lot of talk among swimmers about what the benefits are of immersing yourself in cold water. A well-regarded voice on this is the legendary Wim Hof aka ice man. He makes some intelligent insight points and has developed his own world famous Wim Hof Technique on acclimatisation.
I am not a scientist or have any research to put to this. I simply share what I think are the benefits of wild swimming purely based on my own experience.
Essentially swimming outside in a natural setting is nothing new – people have cooled off at lakes and beaches in Snowdonia and the rest of the UK for years. But I think there is a reason ‘wild swimming’ is growing fast in popularity – and that is addiction! As it grows in reputation, more people full of curiosity are giving it a go and then in turn getting hooked. And from there the momentum spreads.
We have seen this in our local free swim group that we launched. People turn up dubious, telling us they don’t like the cold but time after time they leave with a beaming smile asking us advice on what gear to buy and where the next swim meet is.
Wild Swim Snowdonia is all about encouraging people to have a go at wild swimming. Our experience has shown us that is doesn’t matter what your reason is for trying it, we just urge you to do so and see what benefits you can feel to your own health and wellbeing. They will be quite different from our own.
The list below is the main benefits that we as co founders of Wild Swim Snowdonia, see them. We’d love to hear what yours are.
· Fresh air
We love being outside. Breathing in fresh (ideally Welsh!) air gives us a natural boost and a new energy.
· Change your perspective
Viewing the world, wildlife and nature’s natural ruggedness from open water gives you a new perspective. This helps us to be in the moment and be mindful, something increasingly harder to do in a fast paced world.
· The afterglow
A swimming buzzword! The cold water leaves you with a tingling endorphin charged buzz. Our newbie swimmers get hooked on this natural high.
· Embrace the freedom
Wild swimming frees you of the sense of time, the constraints of daily life, of judgment and vanity (no one can pull off squeezing into a wetsuit with finesse!). There is no ego, no airs and graces; it’s all about the swim.
It is really good fun! Whether you’re an adventure swimmer, an endurance swimmer, a quick dipper or anything else, we all do it because we enjoy it and it makes us smile.
· Being active
Our society is more sedentary than ever before and we’re all guilty of being sucked into the virtual world of social media and Netflix. Even if you’re someone who doesn’t cover much distance in the water, wild swimming goes hand in hand with being active and normally involves a heart pumping walk or scramble to a decent spot.
There are a zillion proven or claimed health benefits such as boosting your immune system, improving circulation or easing migraines, which are worth reading about depending on what your specific need is. I have even found wild swimming to be the ideal cure for morning sickness!
We don’t want to make claims here that are not from our own intelligence, research or experiences but in the main wild swimming makes you feel alive and it is blinking good for you. Give it a go and see what (if any) difference you feel. I am confident at the very least you’ll enjoy it.