Sorry for the drop off with the regular CHILLI CHATS - we had a mammoth task ahead of us to get re open following lockdown II and then a pesky thing called Christmas got in the way!

Anyhow, back on track for the NEW YEAR with CHILLI CHAT no 3 - Enjoy!

FACT: cold water swimming and cold water immersion can potentially be a hazard to health, especially if taking a dip is unintentional. Exposure to cold water can cause hypothermia. Hypothermia occurs when the bodies core temperature drops below 35C. but is often overlooked, but arguably more of a danger is the immediate effect sudden exposure to cold water can have on the body.

A sudden and rapid increase to your heart rate can occur, this is called COLD WATER SHOCK and is actually a more common way of getting into difficulty when suddenly immersed in cold water. Indeed rapid heart rate in response to cold water immersion causes 60% of cold water deaths... not hypothermia as many believe.

Cold water swimming precautions really can mitigate these responses and we can train our bodies and minds to swim in colder water than most without causing harm.

However, cold water swimming is an extreme activity and should be approached cautiously. In order to protect yourself from harm and ensure that you can enjoy your cold water swimming we recommend that you;

  • Acclimatise before starting to swim

  • Do not stay in the water too long - If you start to feel warm, get out!

  • Build up the length of time that you stay in the water but be prepared to reduce this if you feel you need to or as the temperature reduces

  • Swim regularly for short periods of time (2 minutes per degree max)

  • Swim within your limits and reassess as the temperature drops.

  • Swim using a wetsuit, neoprene hat or silicone hat, use ear plugs, boots and gloves and consider head up swimming wearing a woolly hat

  • Swim with a buddy and always under supervision

  • Wear warm clothing to and from swimming, avoid zips and laces.

  • Wear a hat and gloves after your swim.

  • Have a hot drink after swimming, warm up naturally, avoid radiators etc.

Cold water swimming – equipment

It is possible that you can enjoy your Chilli Swim in simply a swim costume, Swim Hat and Goggles. However there are a lot more protective layers that you can choose to combat the cold whilst swimming: Wetsuit, Neoprene Hat, gloves, boots, Footwear for getting to the waters edge. Nose clip, ear plugs and for afterwards; Thermal layers, thick woolly hat or beanie and dry robe as well as a towel.

Avoid the Chill - Best Practice Top 10

Start swimming in "cold" water in summer when in fact it's nice and warm,

15c + then come autumn, just keep going.

The golden rule: don't overdo it - there's always tomorrow. Safety is paramount, listen to your body. Observe all precautions normally associated with swimming in open water, taking extra care in lower temperatures.

When you feel cold, get out, get dressed and warm up. You'll find your tolerance, both time and temperature, will steadily improve.

There's no need to swim in cold water every day - once a week, for just a few minutes is enough. Cold-acclimatisation is a long-term process.

Swimming in a heated pool in between cold dips does not interfere with the acclimatisation process.

Never jump or dive into water below 15C (59F). Always wade or lower yourself in - this gives your body time to switch into "cold mode".

Avoid having cold water enter your nose. There is very little bone between the nasal cavity and your brain, and chilling the brain can result in cold shock to avoid this consider using a nose clip. Ear plugs may also aid your warmth.

Always wear a swim cap, as a surprisingly large amount of body heat is lost through the head. A brightly coloured cap will also enhance your visibility.

Do not train alone, under cold stress the body can cramp easily.

Health problems needn't prevent you from cold training, but you should seek medical advice. If you suffer from asthma, heart problems, low or high blood pressure, epilepsy, diabetes or you are pregnant you need to take extra care.

Most of all enjoy your swim - when it starts to become a chore or something you don't look forward too... take a break from it and think nice sunny thoughts 🌞

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