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Six health benefits of open water swimming

We are lucky enough in Jersey to be surrounded by the sea, with many beautiful beaches just a stone’s throw away. And now the weather is getting better and British summertime has officially started, why not take advantage of that, the benefits are huge!

 

Better 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.

 

Better circulation

When we become cold, blood rushes to our organs, making our hearts work a little bit harder. Every time you swim outdoors, the cold water helps to boost your circulation by pumping blood through your capillaries, arteries, and veins.

 

Increased happiness

You’ll know that immersing yourself in cold water. Whether in the sea, the Serpentine, or simply in the shower, it can make your skin sting and take your breath away. To reduce the stinging sensation, your brain releases endorphins (painkillers produced by your body), which results in a feeling of well-being once you’re back on dry land. Combine this with a workout in the great outdoors (proven to reduce stress and promote mental well-being) and you have a powerful way to inject some happiness into your day!

 

Increased 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.

 

Boosted immune system

Immersing your body in cold water for an hour can shock the immune system and help produce more white blood cells and more antioxidants. This can help to boost your immune system and reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer.

 

Better skin

Cold water exfoliates the skin, flushing out impurities and making it smoother. This all adds up to you feeling better inside and out every time you swim outdoors.

 

The key is to know your limits and swim within them. Limits include swimming ability, cold water acclimatisation, currents and how much you know about the water in front of you. It is recommended you swim with a buddy and wear a bright suit.

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