In Australia it’s beach season all year round, epic sunrises greet us in the morning, let's make the most of it. During winter it's too easy to stay home or just give 50% effort in the gym, instead of getting outside in the elements and moving. Sure, it’s not all that appealing to simply go out for a run on the cold sand in the morning or head to the beach for a surf when the waves aren’t all that friendly or immerse yourself in cold water for a swim workout but it's worth it for your physical and mental health.
'When the cold weather hits swimming is probably an activity that's far from your mind. But swimming is in fact one of the best activities everyone can undertake in winter! Swimming as regular exercise will strengthen the immune system - people who swim may be less likely to fall ill with the common colds and flus that go around in schools, universities and daycare centres over the colder months.' says Royal Life Saving WA
Why swim through winter?
Feeling a natural high, invigorated, alive are just a few descriptive words used. It is widely discussed and documented that cold water swimming has numerous benefits for us:
Boosts your immune system
Gives you a natural high
You can meet some new crazy like minded friends.
The same way many athletes use cold water therapy and ice baths as part of improving their performance and recovery, we can also use it to benefit both our physical and mental health. In Sydney the water only drops to an average balmy 17-18 degrees in winter, which although many would say that’s not ‘cold water’ swimming, hummm I disagree, its cold enough for me.
When I ask year round swimmers why they swim throughout the winter:
There are some basic safety you need to be aware of. First, never swim alone. Joining a group or continuing to swim into winter with your friends, is the best way to approach a winter season of swimming, as this will help you stay safe and motivated.
Secondly, be aware of your limits and ability in the ocean. Take advice from those who are more experienced than you.
Want to feel comfortable and confident with your ability and skills in the ocean.
Contact Linda for Learn to Swim, Introduction to Ocean Swimming, Ocean Swim Skills and Stroke Correction lessons.
Photos courtesy of www.maggielangtry.com.au
Are you looking to buy a wetsuit for open water/ocean swimming?
It’s Autumn, the sunrises are epic but it means the water will inevitably start to cool down soon.
As a swim coach I spend a lot of time in the water and my wetsuit is an important piece of kit.
I wear a wetsuit for many reasons but number one is warmth, your core temp can drop very quickly in cool water, especially if you’re teaching and not actually swimming. Another reason is comfort. A wetsuit can also improve and help your speed and confidence through buoyancy.
As a regular surfer and swimmer I’ve tried a few wetsuits over the years and they vary greatly.
For swimming (ocean pool or open water) I prefer to wear a 2XU brand wetsuit as I like the fit, material and comfort, there are of course many brands on the market for you to explore, I’m not endorsing any particular brand here, it comes down to what fits best and works for you (including price).
A wetsuit's primary purpose is to keep you warmer, which can help you stay comfortable in the water for longer and reduces your risk of hypothermia. A wetsuit can also provide the extra lift you need, which will make it easier for you to float as you calm down and focus on lowering your heart rate.
Remember, a wetsuit is not designed to keep you completely dry. They work by trapping a thin layer of water between your body and the wetsuit material, letting your body warm the water to a comfortable temperature. The thicker your wetsuit, the longer and warmer your body will remain in the water.
Flexibility, one of the most important features of a wetsuit that’ll help you move freely in the water. If you use a regular wetsuit for swimming, this added flexibility and the ability to move your arms and legs freely, will be restricted.
Swimming wetsuits are designed to be highly flexible in all the right places to ensure your swimming is effortless. Your wetsuit should fit comfortable against your skin, without restricting arm, leg or body movements but snug enough that water can't easily get in.
Wetsuit thickness is measured in millimetres, represented with two numbers separated by a slash. The first number represents the thickness of the neoprene in the torso area, the second number represents the thickness of the neoprene in the extremities.
Fit and comfort are the most important considerations when it comes to buying a wetsuit. You may have a $1,200 wetsuit but if it doesn't fit correctly then you won't comfortable, warm or efficient.
Swimming wetsuit should:
1. Have no excess material or extra folds.
2. Be comfortably snug but not too tight.
3. Provide a full range of motion in arms and shoulders.
4. Feel comfortable and not too tight around the neckline.
Unlike traditional surfing wetsuits, open water or swimming wetsuits are designed to allow for more flexibility and range of motion in the water. This helps you to swim without feeling restricted in any way possible.
A good wetsuit will play an important role in enabling you to swim through winter, if you dislike the cold like me. Whether you are swimming for recreation, training or racing, wetsuits provide you with additional features and benefits that will not only keep you warm but can help your swimming.
If you are looking for some advice and help with choosing a wetsuit - please shoot me an email