Swimming in open water is becoming more and more popular. You may think that they are crazy, but nothing is farther from the truth. Swimming in open water, especially in cold water, is very good for your body. Over time, it strengthens your immune system. It has an anti-inflammatory effect and improves blood flow. Besides that, it leads to increased endorphins, adrenaline, and serotonin production. In short, swimming in (cold) open water is beneficial for your body and has various serious benefits for your overall well- being. It is easy to combine swimming in open water with the Wim Hof Method, as exposure to cold is one of the three pillars of the method.
Things you need to know before swimming in open water
YOpen water swimming is more thrilling and physically demanding than pool swimming. If you feel anxious, try to do some exercises for anxiety, and then just go for it. When you have overcome your fear, your willpower will automatically increase. Swimming in open water gives you a tremendous feeling of freedom. Even a small dive will help you improve your immune system. To increase the benefits, use the Wim Hof Method to train yourself.
Swimming long distances in open water
To build up your body’s strength and stamina, start swimming long distances. If you want to swim long distances, there are a few things to which you should pay attention. Before you start, you have to do a proper warm-up. The colder the water is, the longer your warmup must be. A good training prior to open water swimming is swimming in the pool. In the pool you are typically more relaxed, and tend to practice better swimming technique. The better prepared, the easier it is to swim relaxed in open water.
Build your distance up gradually
Practice makes perfect when learning to swim long distances in open water, but do not overdo it. It is important to build up your distance gradually. When you do that, you will feel stronger and less anxious at the end of the day. Crossing your limits will have the opposite effect. Furthermore, a gradual distance build-up is better for developing your stamina. That is because the cold water causes a natural stress reaction in the body, which you have to learn to cope with gradually. Usually, a stress reaction disappears if you focus on your breathing. So, prepare yourself mentally for what is to come, pay thorough attention to your breath while swimming, and longer distances will get within reach.
Prepare yourself for your swim
You have to prepare yourself before you go swimming. Especially if you are going to swim in open water for the first time, it is good to bring someone with you or to ask someone to watch you from the shore. A swimming buoy is also recommended if you are going to swim in open water. No matter how well you swim, accidents can happen unexpectedly. Therefore, wear a wetsuit, diving goggles, diving gloves, and swimming shoes. During the winter you should bring well-padded clothes to warm yourself up after your swim.
Experience the cold
Frequent exposure to the cold is linked to several health benefits. There is scientific proof that exposure to cold speeds up metabolism. Furthermore, there is also proof that exposure to cold reduces inflammation, swelling, and sore muscles. That is why many professional athletes use ice baths as a means to speed up recovery after physical exercise. People with autoimmune diseases also use exposure to the cold to relieve symptoms. As you can see, a swim in open water brings you a lot!
Cold therapy with the Wim Hof Method
Exposing your body to cold is one of the three pillars of the Wim Hof Method. Therefore, swimming in open water is a good exercise when you practice Wim’s method. You can start by taking cold showers and extend your exercises with a dive in the open water. By doing this, you build up your endurance and eventually improve your immune response. Participants of the WHM report health benefits ranging from more energy to relief of symptoms caused by autoimmune diseases. To experience these health benefits within just weeks, start practicing today!