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Openwater Guide

Tips For Taking The Cold Water Plunge


  1. You need to acclimatise so that your body can adapt to the cold temperatures. So you need to have access to an unheated open air pool or other stretch of open water (river, lake, sea) in which you are allowed to swim in order to acclimatise.
  2. Be aware that open water can be dangerous. Familiarise yourself with the condition before entering the water and make sure you can exit the water easily and quickly.
  3. Do not dive in unless you are used to cold water swimming. This can lead to cold shock and may be dangerous.
  4. Wear a swimming cap. Most of your body heat is lost through your head. The thicker silicone caps are best, but if you do not have one, use two standard caps.
  5. Start with a quick dip but do not swim. Cold water can cause gasping of breath. Once your body has adjusted to the cold, you can gradually increase the time you spend in the water.
  6. Make sure you have plenty of warm clothes to put on afterwards and a warm drink.
  7. Shivering is the body’s natural mechanism to maintain heat. If you shiver for more than a few minutes or continue to feel cold, you have stayed in too long.
  8. Do not swim in cold water after drinking alcohol or when ill.