“Swimming is simply moving meditation.”
Cesar Nikko Caharian
There has been a great deal of good press recently about wild swimming. Lockdown has raised its profile, which is excellent news! What better way to exercise than in the fresh air with nature surrounding you?
It’s exhilarating, refreshing, uplifting, fun and free!
The health benefits of wild swimming are extensive:
- Provides a sense of elation – a natural high!
- Improves your circulation
- Soothes aching muscles
- Relieves depression
- Boosts the immune system
- Removes toxins from your body
- An excellent way to burn extra calories
- Recent news suggests it helps with relieving the symptoms of menopause
Whether you swim with a wetsuit or not, the first few moments when you step into the chilled natural water can take your breath away, but the exhalation, the buzz and the sense of achievement you feel when you come out of the water most definitely makes up for it!!
You can completely lose yourself in the natural beauty around you – the moorhens bobbing on the water watching as you swim by, the colourful dragonflies darting this way and that. The sunlight glistening on the undisturbed water in front of you. The sound of the water gently splashing as you swim, uninterrupted, calm and peaceful. Absorbing yourself in the rhythm of your breathing and the sound of the bubbles as you breathe out underwater – it’s almost meditative. If you are sea swimming, when the water is calm and clear, you can sometimes see small fish, starfish and beautiful shells. The added bonus is that the salt water makes your skin feel super soft all day!
In a nutshell it makes your whole body smile :-)
Where to swim?
Rivers, lakes and the sea! So much choice – some of which may be on your doorstep!
You could try an organised swim in a lake near you (with lifeguards on kayaks and guaranteed safe swimming), you could ask your local Facebook community to recommend a safe place near you to swim or head down to the coast – most beaches have a buoyed off area for swimmers (though most are not supervised by lifeguards). There may be groups or clubs near you – perhaps Google what’s going on in your area? The links below may also be helpful.
Idyllic thought is, there are many things to consider when wild swimming. It is always best to go with an experienced wild swimmer. They can guide you to the right location to swim, avoiding strong currents, weeds, rocks and areas of poor quality water. In addition, you must be aware of the dangers of swimming in cold water, such as cold shock and hypothermia. The websites below offer detailed information.
Quay Swim in Mytchett, near Guildford is a well organised lake swim location – visit https://www.quayswim.co.uk to find out more.
Visit https://www.wildswimming.co.uk to find out where you can wild swim near you, as well as community news, events and useful information on wild swimming.
Or join your local wild swimming group – to find out more visit https://www.outdoorswimmingsociety.com/uk-wild-swimming-groups. There is loads of useful information and tips here for the novice wild swimmer.
Give it a try – it won’t be long before you are addicted!