The joys of open water swimming

Open water swimming has risen in popularity over recent years. The ability to dive into beautiful surroundings and exercise and refresh is an adventure many people are embracing. There are so many benefits both physical and mental, with many forms of competitive open water swimming such as long-distance swimming, and the swimming part in the triathlon.

Open-water swimming involves any swimming that’s not in a pool. The freedom and lack of chemicals means swimming outside feels very different and is often more exciting and more adventurous!

Benefits of Open-Water Swimming:

  1. Better Sleep – The cold water whilst swimming outside stimulates your parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). This system promotes the feeling of relaxation and this often helps with a better night sleep.


  1. Better Circulation and Fitness – When in cold water, blood will move faster between our organs, to warm your body up, which works the heart faster, leading to better fitness.


  1. Happiness – Any exercise increases secretion of dopamine; this hormone creates a feeling of excitement and enjoyment and is often called the ‘happy hormone’. Swimming outdoors increases dopamine levels even more, and so creating even more ‘happiness’.


  1. Immune System – Studies have shown that immersing yourself in cold water a couple times a week can increase white blood cell count, boosting the immune system and can reduce illness throughout winter months, such as common colds.


  1. Better Skin – Cold water exfoliates the skin, making it smoother, and this might also help increase happiness as well.


  1. Sociable – Open water swimming is a great activity to do as a family or with friends, and so can often be fun and not feel like formal working out.


The only requirement for open-water swimming is to be able to swim competently. Lessons at SwimSound can help provide the confidence and swimming ability to ensure you maximise the fun you can have open-water swimming, whilst also being as safe as possible.

Open water swimming is a risk and should never be attempted alone. The challenge of swimming in a natural environment is compelling and thrilling but the risks must be taken seriously.  Swim England recently published safety advice for swimmers looking to take part.

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