Find out why you should try swimming outdoors
Wild swimming is having a moment – and with good reason. The health benefits of swimming outdoors include everything from enhancing your happiness to boosting your immune system, so if you’re keen to dip your toe in, we’ve put together seven reasons why you should try open water swimming sometime soon.
1. Improves sleep
When you swim outdoors, the cold water stimulates your parasympathetic nervous system (PNS), which is responsible for repairing the body. Stimulating the PNS promotes a feeling of relaxation, often with a sense of contentment, which should deliver a better night’s sleep.
2. Improves circulation
Whenever we become cold, blood rushes to our organs, making our hearts work a little bit harder. So, every time you swim outdoors, the cold water helps to boost your circulation by pumping blood through your capillaries, arteries and veins.
3. Produces a natural high
You’ll know that immersing yourself in cold water – whether in the sea, the Serpentine or simply in the shower – can make your skin sting and take your breath away. To reduce the stinging sensation, your brain releases endorphins (which are painkillers produced by your body), which results in a feeling of wellbeing once you’re back on dry land.
4. Increases your metabolism
Swimming in cold water makes your body work harder to keep warm, which increases the number of calories you burn. The colder the water, the more energy your body will convert from fat to fire up your metabolism and keep your core temperature stable.
5. Boosts your immune system
Studies have revealed that immersing your body in cold water for an hour can shock the immune system and help produce more white blood cells and more antioxidants, which help to boost your immune system and reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer.
6. Great for the skin
Cold water exfoliates the skin, flushing out impurities and making it smoother – which all adds up to you feeling better inside and out every time you swim outdoors.
7. Enhances happiness
Diving into cold water releases endorphins – the natural high that helps us fight depression. Our bodies also release dopamine and serotonin, which help us to feel happy, when we swim in cold water. Combine these benefits with a workout in the great outdoors, which has been proven to reduce stress and promote mental wellbeing, and you have a powerful way to inject some happiness into your day.