Why Summer Swimmers are made in Winter
Anna Loypur, Founder and Managing Director, SwimWorld, Glen Waverly shares her top tips on how to tackle the cool waves and master winter swimming.
Swimming is not generally a winter activity. Cold mornings, rainy days and windy weether can conjure up e myriad of excuses to stay dry, especially so for parents with kids who are less than impressed with the idea of winter water activities.
As a business that has run premium swimming programmes for decades, we have heard every excuse, myth and ailment under the sun, and we are here to help bust the truth on why winter swimming is essential for health, fitness and most importantly- survival!
Before we get into some tips to help you swim through winter, here is a reminder of why swimming is so beneficial:
- Swimming has health benefits beyond just physical appearance; it builds cardiovascular strength (in fact it has been proven that 50% of swimmers had had lower all-cause mortality risk), it reduces blood pressure, there is no concussion or gravity based impact, and the encapsulation from water reduces stress on joints, improving mobility for those with injuries or arthritis, it helps with asthma by increasing lung capacity and breathing control, it’s safe for pregnancy, it can even help regulate blood sugar and insulin sensitivity!
- Swimming releases endorphins- so your moods will improve. This is essential for beating the winter blues.
- Swimming has been found to increase blood flow to the brain, which leads to more oxygenation in the area. That means you’ll experience more alertness, better memory processing and improved cognitive function.
- Swimming has been proven to assist adults with insomnia- and we all know how well we feel after a good nights sleep.
- Swimming teaches goal-driven results- these self-imposed measures of success are fantastic motivators, whether it’s reaching the end of the pool, breathing every third stroke, or trying to clock a time, setting micro goals when swimming leads to a more successful drive out of the water.
- Swimming fuses strength, endurance and flexibility, making it a fantastic foundation to help support other physical activities.
A few insights to help you keep motivated in winter:
Indoor and outdoor pools are always set to regular temperatures- depending on whether they are used by older adults and kids, or the general public. The water temperature at Swimworld is kept at 32 degrees celsius all year round, making them really comfortable for swimmers, so much so it’s often warmer in the water than out!
- Pool sanitisation has come a long way, many of us swimming school owners have invested in state of the art salt-water chlorination systems, which means you don’t get the side effects of bygone days from chemical-based sanitation like dry skin, brittle hair and bleached bathers.
- Come prepared- that means be in your bathers when you get to the pool, so you can just dive straight in and you don’t think twice about splashdown. Have a beanie and scarf ready for when you leave so you don’t feel cold heading home from the pool. Despite the old wife’s tales your parents may have taught you, wet hair does not make you sick, viruses do, and pools by safety and hygiene standards are top of the pops!
- Swimming is a year-round sport- if you are planning a beachside vacation, a resort-style holiday or a camping trip to a river or lake, you will miss out on the fun if you don’t know how to swim. Swimming demands confidence and time, so allow yourself the time in a warm pool, under supervision, in winter, without pressure, so you can learn how to swim, survive and enjoy the water.
- Buddy system: Having a friend to swim with is a great way to keep motivated, and be accountable for sticking to your schedule. Often, you’ll find when one person is having a down day the other is on a high and will be the chief motivator. With kids specifically, having a sibling or friend together with a rewards based incentive like a treat after their lesson can keep them motivated.
- Be goal driven- set yourself a challenge to keep you motivated- be it a fun competitive swim with friends, a mini triathlon, or an experience like a scuba diving course, a swim with dolphins, or a snorkel trip to make sure you stick out your training program.