Cold Water Swimming Information


1. Plan your session.  If you are training and are not an experienced cold water swimmer, wear a wetsuit.  If you are swimming for fun, mental health or to enjoy the endorphin rush then plan no more that 20-30mins, you don’t have to do a full session.

2. Wear easy to put on clothes. Pack your kit in the order you will take it out: woolly hat, towel, base layer, underwear, tracksuit trousers, fleece, socks, shoes, warm coat.

3. Ensure you have a silicon swim hat or a neoprene swim hat and we recommend ear plugs as it will help keep you warm.

4. Please don’t jump or dive in to enter the water. Entry to your cold-water swim session should be via the steps or ramp. The shock of a quick entry into cold water can be very dangerous and lead to cold water shock as the blood rushes away from the heart and brain to the skin.

5. Take a minute or two to get your breathing under control before you start swimming.


1. Exit your cold-water swim session via the steps or ramp slowly thus allowing your blood to return to your legs gradually.

2. Use the changing rooms, have your kit on the bench not on the floor.  Bending over can unbalance you when you are cold.

3. Remove your wet swimming costume before you dress, quickly wrap yourself up with plenty of layers of warm clothing.

4. Warming slowly from the inside is essential. Have a seat have a warm drink, a chocolate bar and or some cake poolside. Do not drive straight away to avoid after drop (when you get out and feel fine, and then you start to get colder, sometimes growing faint).5. Do NOT take a hot shower too soon after exiting until you are warm properly, this will definitely increase the likelihood of after drop.


The health benefits of cold water swimming have long been suspected. Now science is starting to back up the anecdotal evidence with studies that suggest that there are lasting positive effects of a bracing outdoor dip. Studies are still in the early stages and we are only just starting to understand how cold water immersion affects the human body:

  1. An increased tolerance to stress – The temperature of the water creates a stress reaction in the body, the same kind of reaction we experience if we find ourselves in a scary or tense situation. The body releases the stress hormone cortisol and breathing frequency and heart rate increases.
  1. Swimming as a mindfulness exercise – Your brain only has limited bandwidth and with the intense sensation of the water to focus on there is no space left for your brain to go over your to-do list or worry about anything other than the cold.
  1. Decreased inflammation – Ice baths are used by elite athletes all over the world to aid post-performance recovery. The science is simple. Your body reacts to the cold temperatures by directing blood away from your extremities to protect the organs in your core.
  1. A boost to self-esteem – The process of forcing yourself to stay in cold water could be increasing your mental strength. Getting out of your comfort zone builds confidence and courage as well as giving you a sense of accomplishment. By becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable you increase your resilience in other areas of life.
  1. Increased immunity – The stress reaction caused by cold water immersion is suspected to trigger an increase in white blood cell production, providing a natural boost to your immune system.
  1. Post-swim high – The endorphin rush of feel good tingling joy

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