So finally we have to admit that the water has started to get a little cooler and the shorter days and brusk weather are ahead of us (Karen is using the word ‘cold’ but I’m trying to lessen the discomfort by suggesting that it’s just a bit ‘cooler’!)This means that when there is a day of blue skies and sunshine we really do need to try and enjoy our daily swim with vigour, and this week I really feel we did.
Just before this current wild and windy patch of weather where we have had to throw ourselves into the breaking waves like excited five year olds, there was a beautiful run of calm and relatively warm, sunny weather. It was a time to remind ourselves of the joys of sea swimming by messing about at the end of each swim in a carefree, frolicking manner like… well, like five year olds (yes there is a definite theme to our behaviour and attitude). Karen and I agreed that the fine weather and renewed laughing, giggles that are probably brought on by the decreasing water temperature, needed an added celebration.
Almost every guide or practical listing for wild / sea swimming suggests that you take a warm drink with you for post swim health (warming up) and enjoyment… well who doesn’t love a cuppa with their buddy overlooking the sea? That warm cup of your favourite hot drink really can make things so much more enjoyable on many levels. Health wise, swimming in colder (sorry ‘cooler’) waters means that your body temperature will decrease both during and after your swim. Many people may not realise that their body temperature will continue to fall post swim – this is known as afterdrop. “Afterdrop is the phenomenon of your body temperature continue to drop even after you get out of cold water and into a warmer environment – so that you feel colder 10 or 40 minutes after you exit than you did in the water” (The Outdoor Swimming Society). I’m very much aware that it might sound slightly alarming for those who are feeling nervous about getting the in the water over winter, but there are sensible slow, warm up activities you can consider to help make sure it doesn’t become an issue. For further basic information on wild swimming into winter you might like to look at wild swimming.co.uk or the Outdoor Swimming Society as above for lists of what to do and not do.
The temperatures at the moment are ‘ok’ and certainly in the bouts of recent sunshine have felt rather wonderful. To celebrate the glory of giggles, friendship and a calm weather day this week, Karen and I took our cups of tea back into the sea! The very act of holding a warm cuppa whilst treading water (or just touching tippy toe) and laughing about very silly things with a good friend is one of the absolute joys in life that many may have overlooked. What do you mean you’ve not tried it yet? Drinking tea in the sea is a brilliant way of celebrating something… well celebrating anything you fancy actually. It might be approaching the time for neoprene boots and gloves but days such as these are worth all the cold that’s probably coming!