10 Reasons to Wild Swim
What is wild swimming?
Ever spotted someone donning their swimming cap at the beach on a seemingly cold day and wondered what they were doing, and how on earth they were enjoying it?
This is called wild swimming, which, to put simply, is the practice of going swimming in a natural, outdoor body of water. That might be the ocean, a river, or a lake such as Divers Cove!
Whilst wild swimming is a hobby that’s been around for thousands of years, this has actually seen a recent surge in popularity. Perhaps this is a result of the pandemic, or maybe people are simply looking to reconnect with the beauty of nature – either way, here at Divers Cove we think it’s fantastic to see so many new faces trying open water swimming with us.
Our stunning, sandy-bottomed lake is nestled in the heart of Godstone, Surrey – so, if you’re looking to try outdoor swimming without travelling too far, keep us in mind!
Whether you’re looking to start triathlon training, have always been curious about cold water therapy, or simply want to get fit, wild swimming is a fantastic hobby that boasts a number of different benefits to those who introduce it into their lifestyle.
Still not convinced about trying wild swimming? Let’s dive into the ten reasons why we think you should have a go…
#1 You’ll be surrounded by nature
Don’t get us wrong, swimming pools are fine, but there’s nothing quite like exercising and unwinding in the open air. The refreshing turquoise waters of our stunning lake are bordered by trees, giving visitors a real feeling of being immersed in nature.
Whether it’s seeing the ducklings in the spring, the colourful flowers of summer or the ways that the trees come alive with colour in the autumn sun, we can’t help but feel extremely lucky to have such a lovely natural environment to swim in here at Divers Cove.
To maintain well-being, studies have suggested that humans should spend at least two hours a week in nature. Taking this time outdoors can boast a whole host of mental health benefits including: reduced stress and anxiety levels, reduced irritability and increased feelings of calmness.
Whilst it might feel difficult to fit this into a busy schedule, it’s important to take this time for yourself, and what better way to do so than with a cooling open water swim?
#2 It’s a fantastic workout
Regardless of where you choose to do it, swimming is a great way to keep fit, as it works out your entire body from head to toe, using many different muscles on the way. It’s also important to note that whilst other cardiovascular exercises such as running are beneficial to your health, these can be particularly tough on your joints due to being weight-bearing.
Swimming gets the blood pumping, helps to tone muscles and can aid weight loss, all without the painful impact stress on your body that many other workouts can cause. This makes it a particularly popular workout for those suffering with arthritis and other joint pain.
Thinking about opting for the open water for your next workout? You’ll be pleased to know that the cool water and air temperatures of the great outdoors can help you burn extra calories as your body works to keep you warm.
#3 It can help to boost your immune system
After the past few years, I think we can all admit that we wouldn’t say no to giving our immune systems a little boost. Research has suggested that the shock of immersing ourselves in cold water can increase your white blood cell count as your body reacts to the shock. For an optimum immunity boost, it’s recommended that we try to plunge ourselves into these cooler temperatures three times a week to make us more resistant to picking up illnesses such as the common cold.
#4 It can help improve your focus and enhance your creativity
When immersing yourself in cold water, you will find that your breathing and heart rate start to quicken. This is your body’s way of reacting to the shock as quickly as possible, and getting your blood pumping around your body faster – meaning that your brain will benefit from the increased blood flow.
The increased blood flow not only helps more oxygen to be delivered but can also improve your focus and help improve your energy levels. So, if you’re looking to kick-start your day, exposing yourself to cold water might just be the best way to do it!
#5 It can help you to manage low mood
Many people suffering with anxiety, depression and other mental health issues have spoken about the benefits of open water swimming. Any form of exercise is a great way to improve your health and wellbeing, but swimming in cold water can actually help to boost your dopamine levels and increase the amount of endorphins released. Endorphins, known as “happy hormones” can help combat low mood, stress and even pain and give you that much needed “buzz”.
#6 Improved stress response
When stepping into cooler waters, it’s likely that your body will initially panic and initiate a “fight or flight” response. This natural stress response means that your heart rate will increase, your breathing will quicken and your blood will start to flow around your body faster to protect you.
As you adapt to the temperature by quieting your mind and regulating your breathing, you’re teaching yourself to work through difficulties such as stress. Whilst it may feel hard at first, repeated exposure to the cooler water temperatures of wild swimming can actually help us to deal with anxiety provoking situations on land such as work, school and personal worries.
#7 Improved circulation and pain relief
When wild swimming, your body reacts to the drastic change in temperature with an increased heart rate and faster breathing. In turn, this increases the amount of blood flowing around your body, and repeated exposure can result in improved circulation. As a result of this, you may notice that impurities leave your body and you’ll see improvements in your skin and hair.
If having a glowing complexion wasn’t enough of a selling point, wild swimming has also been said to help with pain relief through the reduction of inflammation. Inflammation can cause a variety of different issues – from aches and pains to arthritis and depression. Introducing regular wild swimming into your lifestyle can help to reduce these issues, ultimately helping you to lead a happier, healthier lifestyle.
#8 It’s a useful mindfulness practice
The struggles of modern-day life can often mean that you’re left feeling a bit disconnected. The practice of mindfulness is all about reconnecting your body and your mind to live entirely in the present moment – which is often easier said than done! However, immersing your body in cold water can actually help bring your mind back to the present, as any worries will be replaced with the intense sensations your body is experiencing as you glide through the water.
#9 Improved sleep
If you’re struggling with interrupted sleep, it’s likely that you’ve tried a number of different methods in an attempt to get a decent night’s rest. If you’ve not given wild swimming a go as a natural way of helping to ease your insomnia, it’s certainly worth a try. The combination of the exhilarating feeling of the cool water, combined with the full-body workout of your swim is bound to help you enjoy a more restful night’s sleep.
#10 It’s a great way to meet new people
With its increase in popularity over the last few years, it’s no surprise that wild swimming fans have formed a community. Here at Divers Cove, we’re very fortunate to have a fantastic group of members who visit us regularly – and it’s not uncommon to see members both new and returning enjoying a nice catch-up after their swims.
Fancy joining us?
So, if you’re feeling tempted to join us and try wild swimming here in the heart of Surrey, what are you waiting for? We offer three different membership tariffs to suit every budget, so whether you’re planning a one-off swim, or want to dive right into our friendly community, we’ve got something for everyone here at Divers Cove!