Freedom, a sense of exploration and deep, open water surround the swimmer as they experience the possibilities of open water swimming. Albeit there is the fear of drowning, being scaled by an underwater creature and the thought of tiny little fish darting around and skimming your leg ever so slightly. These pleasant thoughts coincide with the idea that regularly dipping in cold water is considered to be beneficial for your health and body.
Becoming a regular member at Vigour encourages the first step that is vital to open water swimming: acclimatisation. The secret is to swim regularly (at least once a week to allow the body to adapt) in order to reap the benefits.
Upon entering the water, the first sets of responses are nervous reflexes. As the body senses intense cold the initial reaction is to gasp resulting in the body taking much larger breathes than normal. Take your time and slowly bend your body into the water to immerse yourself. This makes it easier to acclimatise. At Vigour Events, we provide wetsuits to protect you against the cold and insulate your body.
Outdoor swimming boosts the metabolism and improves blood circulation enabling the body to flush out toxins and increase overall blood flow. All exercise is good exercise and brings metabolic benefits. These benefits are magnified in cold water as the body works twice as hard in an effort to keep you warm. This burns more calories and causes your body to burn fat as its primary source of fuel thus in turn ramps up the metabolism.
Cold produces a special kind of body fat known as brown fat. White fat lives on your stomach and hips and it is the brown fat’s fuel source. It burns through calories at a high rate in order to raise the body’s temperature. By encouraging cold exposure, it increases brown fat, which is associated with lean bodies.
The cold water temperature constitutes as an attack and as a result boots the immune system. The cold is registered as a mild stressor and trains and armours the body against serious illnesses. This is known as hormetic stress, making the body stronger by forcing it to overcompensate for minor injuries.
Scientists from the Czech Republic immersed subjects in cold water for an hour, three times a week and monitored their physiology. They found significant increases in white blood cell counts and other significant factors relating to the immune system.
The cold water plunge also enables a “swimmer’s high”, thanks to the rush of endorphins that the body provides. It stimulates the parasympathetic system, which is responsible for resting and repairing the body. This triggers the release of dopamine and serotonin; these are the neurotransmitters responsible for making you happy.
We document your medical history and personal details with our NOWCA chip bands to ensure that we are prepared for all possibilities in the water. If you are a beginner, you will swim a shorter distance to allow you to become accustomed to the water and as time goes on you are able to choose the longer course.
To build up your fitness capabilities consider joining Health Rewards Vitality Health Insurance to track your fitness progress and encourage you to do more. Discounted Garmin watches and Polar Heart Rate monitors allow you to keep on top of your activities and illustrate how to maximise your potential. Each time you swim with Vigour Events, you unlock vitality points and can reap the rewards from your fitness effort.
Swimming in the cold water offers a multitude of benefits for your health and body. Consider the experience and come and have fun some fun.
Vigour Events coaching sessions can be found at Bardowie Loch, near Milngavie, Pinkston Watersports, Glasgow and Strahclyde Park, Motherwell.