By: Tim Moss
Cold water swimming is something I’ve written about before, particularly with regards to its health benefits, but here are a few tips for acclimatising to cold water, adapting to the icy water and improving tolerance for those winter swims:
- Get regular swimming exposure in cool or cold water. The more you do it, even if only briefly, the more you’ll improve your tolerance.
- Wear a swimming cap or two, and/or a neoprene hat, as your head will suffer the most in the cold water.
- Gain some weight. Fatter people stay warmer for longer and have better tolerance as a result.
- Use a wetsuit if you want to do a longer winter swim (and don’t consider it “cheating”).
- Wetsuit gloves and socks are excellent additions, with or without the main suit, as hands and feet can get painfully cold.
- Use a bigger swimming mask rather than little goggles as they’ll cover more of your face when it goes under water.
- Try cold showers and baths at home to help with your body’s cold water adaptation.
- Build up your brown fat supplies. Not very practical but an interesting area of research
- Train to be a stronger swimmer. Muscles create heat so if you’re able to work hard in the water, you’ll stay warmer.
- Enter slowly and/or splash yourself a bit first. It’s argued that this gives your body a chance to react more than if you jump straight in (which Lewis Gordon Pugh advocates).