An Original Blog by Robie Robes.
Cold water swimming has taken the country by storm. What has been a long standing part of Scandinavia culture, with the Finnish, Swedish and Norwegian people understanding and reaping the benefits for thousands of years, has now reached UK shores, and we’re loving it.
The benefits of a chilly dip are tenfold. From boosting your immune system and regulating your nervous system, to improving your mental health and supporting your wellbeing, the tribe of cold water swimmers now storming British shores are certainly feeling the perks.
If you’re standing on the shoreline, dipping your toe but nervous to take the plunge, then read on to find out our tips for how to get into wild swimming. We can’t wait to share this watery world with you.
Find your tribe
Everything’s easier with a trusted friend by your side, and that goes for sea swimming too. It’s not only safer to swim with others, but you’ll have someone to encourage and support you too. There are a few well known swim groups in Cornwall and across the UK such as the Blue Tits (girls only) and the Looe Sea Swimming Club. Check out Wild Swimming Cornwall’s interactive map to find the closest swim groups to you, if you can’t tempt your friends!
Let’s work out where you’ll be swimming. If it’s your first time in the water it’s worth going to a lifeguarded beach and swimming between the red and yellow flags, or dipping somewhere that there are other people around. You can use websites such as Magic Seaweed to check the tides and daylight hours. Some spots such as tidal pools are only accessible at low tide, but you also need to research the beach to avoid being cut off or stuck in rips. Ask around, check out where other people swim and make sure you know what conditions you need for specific places.
Now that you know where you’re going and who you’re going with, it’s time to get dressed and pack your bag. Wear warm, loose fitting clothing like joggers and a big jumper, plus thermal base layers if you’re heading out in the winter. A hat is integral for afterwards if you’re planning on dunking your head under, and gloves and thick socks are also awesome for keeping your extremities warm. Fill your backpack with luxury necessities like a flask of tea, a hot water bottle, extra layers and a changing robe. A great way to ease your body into cold water swimming is by wearing a 1 or 2mm neoprene swimsuit as this will keep your core warmer and allow you to stay in the water for longer. If you feel the cold particularly badly, or your circulation isn’t great, consider wearing neoprene gloves and boots too, they’ll also protect you from rocks.
Slow and steady
Don’t just jump straight in. Take your time! Ease yourself into the water, step by step. Try splashing the water on your arms and face to get your body ready for the change in temperature. As you acclimatise, sink a little deeper, taking long, steady breaths. The worst part is taking the first strokes, but once you start swimming you’ll warm up, and maybe even find the bravery to submerge your head!
Now that you’re swimming, smile! Take a moment to appreciate how fearless you are. Cold water dipping isn’t for everyone, but those that go for it unlock a lifetime of rewards, and often a sea swimming addiction! Take a big breath, lie back, observe the beauty of your surroundings, revel in the blue health benefits and share the experience with your fellow cold water warriors. Well done!
Warm up safely
Don’t stay in ’til your shivering. When you start to feel chilly, head for shore and get covered up quickly. We’d recommend using a Dry-Series changing robe as this will keep the wind off whilst you change, or our Original-Series towelling robe is a staple for getting dry and changed without exposing your skin to the elements. Loose, cotton layers, a hot water bottle tucked into your hoody and a flask of hot tea in the hand should get you warmed up in no time. Notice how you feel after your swim, the tingling on your skin and the clearness of your mind. See how long you can keep this feeling close.
We hope our tips for getting into wild swimming have encouraged you to take the plunge! If you head out for a cold water dip in your Robie then we’d love to know. Tag us on Instagram using the hashtag #robierobes and the handle @robierobes. Enjoy your swim and we’ll see you in there!