I am so lucky to live by the sea and I never take this wonderful health tool right on my door step for granted. Not only does a quick sea dip make me feel alive, invigorated and full of energy but sea swimming actually holds some incredible health benefits.
1.Gets you back to nature. There is something so empowering about bobbing about in the expanse of the blue sea and looking back over the city. For me it’s headspace. A reminder to breathe and reflect and appreciate.
2. “The cure for anything is salt water — sweat, tears, or the sea.” Isak Dinesen.
This is so true, immersing yourself in cold water has the incredible ability to make your worries and stress drift away. Not only are you so close to the incredible forces of nature but even the giggling with a friend as you make your way into the freezing water can really help. The aerobic effect the cold water has on the body also has a positive effect on anxiety and depression.
3. Jumping into (and jumping in really is the only option when it’s so cold) helps to boost your immune system which helps to resist the common cold. As fresh oxygenated blood works hard to pump around your body to warm you up.
4. This takes me onto that it helps increase blood flow which helps to improve circulation. This in turn helps to aid muscle recovery (hello post HIT Pilates Wednesday night sea dips!). The cold water also helps to relive inflammation in the muscles which means your muscles will ache less post workout.
“The first thing that happens when you get into cold water is the cold shock response — the initial gasp, rapid breathing and increased heart rate and blood pressure as you get in. Swimmers can habituate this response very fast; as few as 5 or 6, three minute immersions where the whole body (not the head) are immersed in cold water will halve the cold shock response.”Dr Heather Massey
5. The increase in circulation also helps to increase metabolism. So honestly, a quick 2 minute dip (that is literally all I do when the sea is really cold, the beginning summer) helps to improve all of the above. I notice a measurable improvement in my fitness, health and wellbeing from quick sea dips. It is THE BEST tonic. Honestly.
“Cold water can help people’s ability to deal with depression. The mental strength required to get in very cold water can boost your immune system, which helps resist colds etc. It increases blood flow, which improves circulation. [It also] helps muscle recovery, relieving inflammation. [Other benefits include] better metabolism, exposure to Vitamin D, serotonin.” Jenny Landreth (author of Swell: Waterogrpahy)
6. Not to mention…. how incredibly smug you feel post dip. And always jumping at the chance to get on social media straight away to let everyone know! Haha – come on, we all do it!
7. I can also honestly say it has improved my exema prone skin hugely. We all know that salt baths help to relieve symptoms of exema. Well the sea is essentially a huge salt bath. My skin is much softer when I manage regular sea dips and my exema considerably improved. Not to mention the added benefits of the vitamin D from the sunshine.
These are just some of the benefits I have felt and I encourage you to sea swim. If you live in an area where you are lucky enough to be able to go in the sea regularly. Do it. I promise you the sense of overall wellbeing you will gain from doing it will be so worth that initial plunge.
Happy Sea swimming!