Some people call it wild swimming, some call it cold water therapy, others winter sea dipping, but my most favourite of them all is Swimrise!
Im just going to put this into context for a minute. NEVER did I EVER think I would be writing a post titled Wild Swimming… Only 6 months ago you would never get me in the sea without a full wetsuit, boots, gloves, 2 hats and my goggles which are that big they might as well be a snorkel mask (yup NOTHING was touching my skin and I was scared to death of getting cold)!
When a friend asked me if I wanted to join her one cold Sunday morning in November i thought that would be it. You know rock up, hate every minute off it, tick it off the bucket list and say I’ve done it!
But here I am 6 months later having swam in the sea on average three times a week throughout the whole winter in just my swimsuit!! CRAZY? Yep I can understand why you would think that I mean sometimes I question my own sanity BUT hear me out…
WHAT IS SWIMRISE?
Set the alarm for just before sunrise o’clock! Jump out of bed and get dressed immediately, giving you no time to question whether to roll back over in your nice warm bed. Fill up a flask of coffee, oh a hot water bottle too (yes this is the best tip I was ever given)! Grab your bag (I’ll share what to pack further down the page) and put on a pair of shoes you can easily slip on and off.
However you get to the beach whether it be walk, cycle or drive be sure to put your favourite tune on LOUD. Roll up at the beach and question your sanity knowing that you have made it this far so you can’t back out now anyway.
There’s no magic way to do this, as soon as your stood on the shore in your swim gear you’ve committed, and you just have to walk, keep on walking, don’t hesitate, don’t look back… screaming is absolutely allowed in fact encouraged, its fun, but don’t forget to breath! As soon as you are far enough dip your shoulders in and this is where I normally breast stroke frantically! Your in! You’ve only blinkin’ gone and done it and then the sun starts to appear on the horizon and your nerves turn to euphoria and you can’t help but be brought straight into the present moment, enjoy the magic!
Exiting the water you will have an immediate glow that represents the colour of a lobster, that’s perfectly normal! The giddiness will hit and you’ll probably want to do a little dance because you’re so happy! (this also helps warm you up)! Get changed as fast as you can before the numbness kicks in otherwise you might struggle to get dressed! Drink your flask of coffee and cuddle your hot water bottle whilst watching the rest of the sunrise, before heading home and feeling on top of the world for the rest of the day and wanting to get back in the water immediately.
How does that sound? Are you addicted yet? Well if that’s not convincing enough there is also a ton of health benefits to this magical way to start the day. I’m not the expert here but I have linked this great post where you can see all the benefits wild swimming or cold water therapy has for the mind, body and soul. Hopefully this will twist your arm.
MY TOP SWIMRISE TIPS
- Take something to wear on your feet (this not only helps keep your feet warm but stops you walking out the water like a complete buffoon, especially if there are stones) I recommend some neoprene ones like these. You can also get the gloves too.
- Take a flask of coffee or hot drink of your choice, it really does help warm you up from the inside.
- A dry robe is a great option as you can wear it to keep warm and also use it to get dressed under with out flashing to any passers by. However they are quite expensive so I recommend using a ski jacket if not.
- Shoes, take shoes that are easy to slip on and off there’s nothing worse than having cold hands and feet trying to put shoes on. Uggs are a really good option and super warm.
- Bobble hat! Dipping your head is optional… personally I always have to dunk my head under to get the full effect but many don’t. Either way make sure you take a hat to keep your head warm in or out of the water.
- Get yourself some swim buddies I wouldn’t do it half the time if I hadn’t arranged to meet one of my swim friends. They really do help and it’s more of an event when your meeting people! You can share giddy chatter, cake and coffee after too! There’s plenty of groups near me that do it, so if you check out Facebook I’m sure you will be bound to find a community near you that you can join in with.
- The hot water bottle… someone gave me this advice when I first started and honestly it’s been a life saver! You can warm your hands and feet up on it or stuff it down your jumper to keep your tummy warm. It’s like a great big hug after your swim.
- Put your swim stuff on under your clothes before heading to the beach. That way you can undress as soon as your at the beach and not get cold before getting in the water.
- Pack your bag the night before so you can just grab and go… sunrise is getting earlier so it’s better to be prepared.
- You also don’t need to live by the sea, rivers, lakes and even cold showers all work too.
WHAT TO PACK & PREPARE?
- Neoprene socks/boots
- Neoprene gloves (if your hands get cold)
- Dryrobe/ski jacket
- Thermal socks
- Easy slip on and off shoes
- Swimsuit/ shorts
- Ski gloves
- Phone for those sunrise snaps
- You can always take a waterproof case if you want to capture some sunrise memories from the water… no need for a go pro I just use this case for my iPhone from amazon.
If you have got this far then I think you might really want to try it? So add it to your bucket list and please let me know how you get on! I’d really love to know! Also if your in Dorset and need a swim buddy give me a shout! I love meeting like minded people.
Thanks as always for reading and happy swimming.