Open water swimmers are those interesting and daring group of people who thrive on cold water swims with nothing but a swimsuit and a positive attitude. Scientists say that a cold swim can help with depression, circulation, boots immune system and libido not to mention getting that natural buzz from all those endorphins that are set free during the activity. After much experience in cold water, here are our top 5 tips to keep that good buzz going long after the swim is over.
Top 5 Tips on How to Stay Warm After a Cold Water Swim
A refreshing cold water swim can do wonders for your health, but the post swim warming activities will be the difference between making it a good or bad experience.
The After Drop
The after drop refers to what your body does after a lengthy swim in cold water. Your body has been generating a lot of heat while exercising and the cold water has been keeping your skin nice and cool. When you stop, the heat production stops as well, but the outside cooling is still happening. This can last for 30 to 40 minutes and can take up to 5 hours to rewarm completely. Here are five cold water swimming tips to take to protect your body and rewarm safely.
1. Don't jump into a sauna hot shower to warm up immediately after
The blood vessels in your skin are starting to open up again and blood starts to rush into your extremities. If you jump into a hot shower to warm up right away, your blood vessels in your skin will open up more quickly and the blood will start to rush causing a drop in blood pressure and you can faint. It is better to take off wet clothes and put on layers of warm dry clothing made with fleece, wool, bamboo or man-made fibers, basically anything but cotton. Cotton cools when it's wet and this is not a good fabric for Winter water sports activities. A swim parka like the Surf-fur Waterparka is perfect for this!
2. Cover your head and feet immediately
Again, make sure your hat and socks are made with with wool or man made fibers and put those on right away to keep all the heat from escaping. I love a good wool hat that can get soaked and still have natural warming properties build right in. Socks are good in place of shoes because they can be washed and dried easily. Surf-fur has amazing warm beanies that are great for this, in addition to the hood of your Waterparka.
3. Sip something warm and un-caffeinated
Avoid caffeine and alcohol, which hinder the body´s heat-producing mechanisms and will actually cause the body's core temperature to drop. Hot tea is much better than that mickey you have stashed in the pocket of your Waterparka ;-)
4. Drink lots of water
This will sound strange, but your body will think that it is over-hydrated after a long cold swim. When you're swimming, your body temperature is up and your heart rate is up which conspires to reduce fluid intake below sustainable levels. This is an after-effect of Vaso constriction where the increase of blood volume around your organs makes your body think it is over hydrated. So, sip lots of water afterwards.
5. Re heat until sweating occurs
Sweating is the body's way of letting you know it has been fully reheated and at a safe temperature once again.
This is part 1 of our 5 part series on staying warm before during and after a cold water session.