Here are five reasons why sea swimming is an exciting and beneficial way to keep yourself mentally and physically healthy in 2021.
Life during the Covid-19 pandemic can leave people feeling anxious and stressed out, especially when restrictions are in place. Sea swimming is a form of hydrotherapy in which the human body benefits greatly. Seawater has many benefits ranging from treating skin conditions and muscle pain to relieving stress, anxiety, and depression.
Sea swimming is a brilliant way to relieve stress and anxiety. Not only does swimming in cold waters help with joint pain and arthritis, but it also acts as a form of meditation for the body as you are focusing on your breathing alone. Voluntary Health Insurance (VHI) explains how “hydrotherapy of all sorts” is proven to “decrease the symptoms of anxiety and depression”. Wallace J. Nichols’ book, Blue Mind, expresses how we find ourselves in a calm and relaxed state when we’re in or underwater.
A report conducted by Outdoor Swimmer surveyed 2,196 new and regular sea swimmers in which showed that the number of women swimming outdoors almost doubled in 2020. In the report, the founder of Outdoor Swimmer, Simon Griffiths, stated, “Outdoor swimming is an activity that brings its participants a long list of benefits and much joy.” Not only does sea swimming loosen the muscles and improve our breathing, but also, seawater is high in rich minerals such as magnesium, sulfur, calcium and potassium, which relaxes the body and promotes deep sleep.
Exercise and Physical Wellbeing
Exercise is crucial in terms of keeping a healthy mental state. Sea swimming is a full-body workout as you are constantly moving with every muscle in your body. Water is approximately 800 times denser than air and acts as a resistance against the body, increasing the workload a person puts in when swimming in the sea. This increased workload results in the burning of more calories. Sea swimming, compared to running, is easy on the joints, and there is a lesser chance of injury when you are swimming. Seawater is linked with the reduction of inflammation and the speeding up of muscle recovery.
Weight management is another benefit of sea swimming. Brown fat and white fat are the two types of fats found in the human body. Swimming in cold water activates brown fat to raise the body temperature, resulting in the burning of more calories and the shedding of excess skin. Swimming regularly will allow the muscles in your body to tone and become more defined. It’s a fast way to get shredded.
Strengthens the Immune System
Adapting to cold waters can be very beneficial for your immune system. IPRS Health experts say that regular sea swimming boosts your white blood cell production to protect the body against viruses, as your body forces you to react to changing temperatures and conditions: “Over time, your body becomes better at activating its defences.” Seawater also helps treat respiratory issues with the large quantity of salt seawater contains. That’s one way to get out of using annoying nasal sprays.
Jumping into cold water and being exposed to a colder environment shocks the body and pumps more blood into your major organs, such as your heart, lungs, and brain. Therefore, your circulation is improved, and you end up with much clearer skin and hair. Say goodbye to all those artificial skincare and hair-growth products!
It’s a Sociable Activity
Sea swimmers have one thing in common. They all love socialising after experiencing a chilly sea swim together. Sea swimming is an activity that allows you to mix with the sea swimming community while making new friends along the way.
Anna Deacon and Vicky Allen’s book Taking the Plunge expresses how connectivity is a crucial aspect of sea swimming. The authors explain how “humans are social beings, wired to connect” and how “social groups like those involved in wild swimming created the kind of connections we all need” to improve our mental and physical health. Swimming in the sea with people who are interested gives you a sense of support and motivates you to face the challenge of taking the plunge.
Wakes You Up
There’s nothing better than feeling refreshed after taking a brisk morning swim. Seawater is known to give you a kick of adrenaline, which makes you feel energised and awake. Endorphins are chemicals released by the brain, which allow you to feel great after exercising. They help you cope with pain better and are proven to treat depression. CEOs of The Happy Pear, David and Stephen Flynn, mention in a YouTube video that “you get a sense of baptism” when swimming in the sea, and it “allows you to forget about all that stress you’re going through with the shock and thrill of cold water”.
Sea swimming is undoubtedly good for maintaining stable mental and physical health, but keep your safety in mind. Before swimming in the sea, make sure you know the areas you are swimming in, ensure there are lifeguard posts around you, bring the right equipment, and know your limits for the best experience. Check out watersafety.ie for more information and advice on staying safe in the sea.