Looking to take a leap into something new in 2023? Wild Swimming has become an ever-growing activity throughout the UK since Pandemic restrictions began to ease in 2020. However, this brave ploy to get outside and enjoy what the UK has to offer hasn't decreased in its popularity since the world returned to some sort of normality.
What Defines Wild Swimming?
Wild Swimming is the act of swimming outdoors; typically in a river, loch, lake or in the sea. It's not as simple as indoor swimming, as you need more kit and preparation to go for a dip in the wild.
10 Essentials for Wild Swimming
- A buoyancy aid
- A changing robe
- A swimsuit or swim-trunks (obvious but essential)
- A dry bag - To keep your items dry and safe whilst you swim.
- A warm hat
- A towel
- Wetsuit boots - Great for protecting your feet from any sea etc. floor debris
- Waterproof in-water gloves
- A tow float
- A hot drink to warm you up post-swim (preferably caffeine free)
The Benefits of Wild Swimming
Wild swimming may come across as just that - wild - but it has many health benefits. Sceptics were somwhat disproven when a study was published in the British Medical Journal Case Reports, it tested the theory that wild swimming could be an effective treatment for those living with mental health conditions. It was discovered that due to the shock from cold water - the body adapted to respond to stress; similarly to that caused by depression and anxiety. Although more studies are needed to support this hypothesis, there are many groups throughout the UK that organise wild swims for people with mental health conditions.
Another positive benefit of wild swimming is the chance to meet new people! You may think "I can't do this alone" but you could ask a friend to accompany you to your first swim for motivation and/or join a wild swimming group - there are many online groups and pages on Facebook with thousands of active members. There are even pages dedicated to specific areas.
Similarly, many wild swimmers utilise this hobby as a unique way of exploring the wilder parts of the United Kingdom. Discovering exciting new locations and beauty spots - along with the achievement of ticking a specific location off your list of wild swims - is an added reward! Why not take inspiration from Map of Wild Swimming Locations (UK).
Not only does wild swimming benefit your mind but it also benefits the body! Wild swimming is an effective way of improving circulation and equally to indoor swimming is a great form of exercise. Research shows that you can reap the rewards of regular wild dips and studies show that weekly exposure to cold water increases your white blood count, thus boosting your body's immune system. Furthermore, by taking a plunge in cold water, your body burns calories in an attempt to keep warm and jump starts your metabolism. Also, like the age-old remedy of using ice to reduce swelling, wild swimming in colder water is proven to reduce inflammation and can even reduce pain receptors meaning it can aid those niggling sore spots.
If we've convinced you to take a dip, check out our Wild Swimming Collection.