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How to start winter swimming for the first time: Fitness tips for beginners

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Winter Swimming is the activity of swimming during the winter season, typically in outdoor locations (open water swimming) or in unheated pools or lidos. In colder countries, it may be synonymous with Ice Swimming, when the water is frozen over.


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Photo: © Andrzej Waszkewicz


Would you go swimming in ice cold water (0-4 °C)* ?!

* For example: the official water temperature required for Olympic swimming competition is 25-27 °C.


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Get some winter swimming tips for beginners!



Acclimatise

“The best way to prepare is to “swim down the temperatures” throughout autumn. But you can acclimatise at any time; start with just one minute twice a week and build up. You can also prepare your body with very cold, short showers” – says Andrzej Waszkewicz.


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Be safe

Open water can be dangerous. Only ever swim where it is safe, and make sure you can enter and exit the water quickly and easily. Never swim on your own.

Plan your swim carefully. Always go with someone else, who stays on land. Agree how long you’re going to be in the water, and how you will get in and out. When you get in, aim to be immersed within three minutes, or you will just get too cold. Splash water on your chest and face. Always get out of the water at the agreed time – or sooner. The person swimming is not the best judge of when it’s time to get out (the cold can make you confused).


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Photo: © Andrzej Waszkewicz


Wear the right kit

Wear a swimming hat, or two, to help preserve body heat. You can also wear neoprene gloves, booties, balaclava or a wetsuit – whatever you feel comfortable with.


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Photo: © Andrzej Waszkewicz


No diving

Do not dive or jump in unless you are used to the cold water. Cold water can cause gasping of breath and cold water shock, which can be dangerous.


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Photo: © Andrzej Waszkewicz


Know your limits

As the temperature drops, decrease the amount of time you spend in the water. In winter, swimmers often only swim for one or two minutes at a time.


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Photo: © Andrzej Waszkewicz


Recovery is very important

Don’t forget that recovery is very important. Take flip-flops and leave them at the water’s edge to protect your feet from frozen ground. If you’re wearing a wetsuit, get it off quickly after your swim, towel off and start putting on lots of layers. I usually wear my woolly hat on top. Aim to be dressed within five minutes. Drink something warm and eat something sugary. Do not have a hot shower – your body will think it’s warm and will send blood away from your vital organs!


How to start Winter Swimming, www.swim.by, Winter Swimming Tips for Beginners, Winter Swimming


Over-breathe. Sometimes experienced winter swimmers take two breaths instead of one, getting more oxygen to the blood.


How to start Winter Swimming, www.swim.by, Winter Swimming Tips for Beginners, Winter Swimming

Photo: © Andrzej Waszkewicz


Andrzej Waszkewicz Winter Swimming, How to Start Winter Swimming, Andrzej Waszkewicz Swimming


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Andrzej Waszkewicz, https://swim.by, Wellness Expert



Andrzej Waszkewicz Swimming, https://swim.by, Swimming Manager



Andrzej Waszkewicz Triathlon, https://swim.by, Triathlon Manager



Andrzej Waszkewicz Sports Manager, https://swim.by, Sport Manager