Statistics show that following the disruptions and serious changes Covid has brought to our lives, people are spending a lot more time outside. The several lockdown periods have inspired many to take up a new outdoor sporting activity, with open water swimming becoming more widespread.
There is no doubt that open water swimming is becoming more popular. Open water swimming has been found by many swimmers to provide substantial benefits to our mental and physical health and general wellbeing. It is said to boost confidence, improve your mood and sleep, reduce stress, as well as many other benefits.
Outdoor Swimmer magazine’s Trends in Outdoor Swimming report has also revealed that the number of swimmers participating in open water swimming grew by up to three times in 2020.
After surveys were conducted from outdoor swimmers across the UK, new analysis found that 80% of swimmers expressed mental health benefits from open water swimming, with those who expressed a positive improvement to the general wellbeing being even higher. Some 85% of respondents to a mass survey of 736 people said they agreed or strongly agreed that open water swimming had benefited their overall wellbeing.
A report by the social enterprise, Swim for Good, analysed four surveys of swimmers. The main survey reported that 69% of swimmers said that open water swimming had boosted their confidence, while 65% stated they saw a positive improvement in their social interactions, and 69% saw benefits to their physical health.
Many swimmers in the report described the positive impact it had on their mental health, especially when it came to dealing with the stresses of life during lockdown.
From improving circulation to reducing anxiety, open water swimming offers many health benefits. We’ve put together six reasons why you try an open water swim!
- Better sleep
In open water swimming, the cold water stimulates your parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for repairing the body. Stimulating it brings about a feeling of relaxation which should help you achieve a better sleep.
- Improves circulation
Then the body is cold, blood rushes to our organs, making the heart work a little bit harder. Open water swimming therefore helps to boost your circulation by pumping blood through your capillaries, arteries and veins.
- Increases your metabolism
Swimming in cold water causes the human body to work harder to keep warm, which increases the number of calories you burn.
- Boosts your immune system
A recent study in the Czech Republic revealed that swimming 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.
- Enhances happiness
When our bodies enter cold water they release dopamine and serotonin, which help us have a positive mood. These benefits along with the benefits of a workout in the beautiful open water can provide you with a powerful way to bring some happiness into your life.
- Reducing symptoms of anxiety