The 5 Benefits of Cold Water Swimming

5 reasons why you should begin open water swimming as soon as possible, keeping it to 5 is always going to be tough, as there as so many benefits to open water swimming, be they physical, mental or for the benefits to rehab.

  • Makes you feel amazing afterwards

The cold water can help painful muscles, joints or other tissues that are at the damaged or under strain. The cold helps to reduce pain in damaged or strained tissues either by helping to reduce the inflammation process of the tissues or by causing a reaction in which the pain receptors translating the pain into our central nervous system is suppressed by the receptors experiencing the sudden change in temperature.

This can often allow chronic pain or widely defused pain to be reduced and allow the main reasons behind the pain to be expressed properly. This can aid many to help sort out the true cause behind the pain they are experiencing itself.

  • Gets the blood pumping.

Due to the change in temperatures after entering the water, vasodilation will occur where blood is taken away from the most exterior areas of the body to keep blood flowing close to the organs and central components of the body. This is our bodies way of protecting the most important parts of our bodies from extreme temperature changes.

But this can also work in our favor as when we swim and proceed to leave the water blood begins to flow to our exteriors and is normally the reason we have such red bodies when we exit the water. This forced change can help improve the strength of our vascular tissues as well as promote a healthier blood flow that at times does not get routinely challenged in our daily lives.

  • Stress relief.

Open water swimming not only helps to relieve the stress arising from injuries or pains in our bodies but also it can help relieve the mental stress we experience as well. Imagine it as a giant ice bath you use after an intense training session. As we spoke of above entering cold water can often relieve pain experienced in the body allowing people to feel where their actual injuries or pains are arising from due to the neural and physiological changes which occur in the body.

Not only physical stress but also mental stress can be alleviated through open water swimming. The mental relief from physical pain or stress being dealt with is an inter changeable system. As we deal with physical stress, mental stress will naturally follow suit. Also similarily to how the cold helps relieve pain through a neural adaptation this can also occur with people normally feeling more alert and refreshed after a swim due to the sudden shock to our system.

The “40 Foot” Dun Laoghaire, Dublin
  • Injured? No problem!

As water is a medium where you do not experience the same forces being applied to it as when we are out of the water it means water is the perfect medium to undertake rehab or to keep activities levels up while injured. This can immensely beneficial to people currently carrying an injury preventing them from doing normal activities or from keeping activity levels at a normal rate.

Many people don’t realize that with injuries keeping a stable level of activity while taking care of an injury which will need extensive time to repair is better than dropping all physical activity levels to zero. This isn’t to say that being in water is just a walk in the park. This buoyant medium also means that movement within the water, albeit gentler on the joints, also adds greater resistance to movements. As much as this may seem like a downside it isn’t. With it being gentler on the tissues, while also loading the body, it can act as a perfect environment to implement a rehab programme especially for those not quite ready to go 100% in the normal surroundings in which they will be active in.

  • Getting a your cardio and resistance all in one.

Swimming is one of those perfect forms of exercise that pushes our bodies in such a way that it helps us to train both strength and cardiovascular systems. Swimming is unique to many other forms of exercise that it is very much a whole body exercise that can help to improve aerobic and anaerobic forms of fitness while also providing good quality resistance training due to our bodies fighting against the water.

Open water is a more changeable environment than a pool of course so it provides for a much harder type of swimming based training, especially those who swim long distances in open water. Currents, waves and the temperature means a leisurely swim doesn’t really exist when you speak about the waters surrounding Ireland anyway. As such swimming in open water provides a greater challenge for people as well as being a perfect way to vary and make a training programme more interesting at times.

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