Top tips to prepare for a cold ocean swim

When the water feels cold but you still want to get out for an ocean swim to enjoy all the science-backed health benefits, we’ve got you sorted with our simple hacks to brave it for a great session ahead.

How to swim in the ocean when it’s cold

There are a few tips you can use to set yourself up for a training session or even just a dip when the ocean feels cold:

  • As with any training session, make sure you warm up properly. This can be even more important with cold water swimming
  • Wade into the water gradually, but keep moving. Stopping to ponder the cold will just use up heat and energy
  • Splash water on your face before diving under to lessen the shock once you do submerge
  • Splash around for a few minutes and go under a few times before you start swimming properly so that your body has adapted to the cold water a bit beforehand
  • Start with very short swims in cold water if you are not used to it. You can gradually build up the duration of your swims overtime when it doesn’t feel like such a big deal
  • Wear a wetsuit if you need to. This will help you to stay in cold water for longer
  • Your energy levels and general physical condition can also vary from day to day so make sure you pay attention to how you’re feeling on any given day. Recognise when you’ve had enough and get out
  • Warm yourself up gradually after your swim. Get out of your wet swimsuit, dry yourself off and get into warm clothes. Avoid jumping straight into a hot shower.

Manage your expectations

Swimming in a cold ocean is very different to training in a pool. Colder water temperatures combined with other factors like currents and swell mean that you’ll use more energy up with a cold ocean swim. Therefore, expect that your ocean swims will be shorter than what you can currently manage in the pool.

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