Wild Swimming – How to get started.

Goggles or Shades – you choose!!!

What is Wild Swimming? Really we are just talking about swimming in the Outdoors. It could be termed outdoor swimming; wild swimming or open water swimming. There is generally not much difference and it is all a matter of your own perspective! They are all about swimming in natural waters, whether this is a loch, a reservoir, a rivers or the sea. It might even be simply sitting in a pool below a small waterfall you have found on a hill walk!

The term “Open water swimming” is usually used for competitive swims or swims where people have a set goal in mind. Whereas the term “Wild Swimming” is used to describe a more leisurely approach whether this be dipping, floating, or swimming for enjoyment or health related fitness.

Happiness is – Wild Swimming

Why should you consider Wild Swimming? There are so many reasons to begin this magical adventure but here are just a few;

PHYSICAL – It increases our white blood cell count and simultaneously stimulates the lymphatic system and boosts blood circulation. The cold water activates and trains your immune system.  Aquatic exercise programmes are effective at reducing bone loss and promoting bone formation. These are crucial for the prevention and management of osteoporosis. It improves your bodies ability to deal with and manage cold. It soothes muscular aches and pains.

MENTAL – It has meditative properties and has the ability to provide uninterrupted time to clear your head and be mindful. It causes a decrease in cortisol and other stress hormones, it decreases inflammation which has positive benefits for those suffering from depression.

SOCIAL – You can laugh, chat and share with people you swim with. It’s a bonding social activity, with a wonderful and ever increasing community. It’s exciting! You’re in an environment you’re not used to, you are challenging your own boundaries and adding a fun element to your regular physical activities.

NATURAL – It allows you to spend quality time in nature. It puts you at water level and allows you to see the natural world from a new perspective. It provides an opportunity for an adventure. It enhances your awareness of the natural world and increases your knowledge of biodiversity and environmental challenges.

Summer Solstice Sunrise at Portobello

WHERE should you begin to Wild Swim? There is really no better place than here at Portobello Beach, over the next few months. The tides are a major consideration for sea swimming, although at Portobello your safety is not really affected by the tides, your enjoyment may well be. Low tide at Joppa results in a long slow walk out towards Fife – over a disgusting band of rocks and sludge. However, in other locations around the East Coast you should make yourself aware of any strong tidal changes and potential Rip Currents.

No time like the present

WHEN should you begin Wild Swimming? Soon – is my advice. With no expectations, an open mind and a sense of adventure. the water temperatures are not yet in double figures but as the Spring moves towards Summer, the temperatures in the water will increase. You can begin by dipping a toe, dooking for a short while and extend out as you build your acclimatisation and knowledge and as the water and air temperatures get warmer.

WHO should you Wild Swim with? I am lucky to have both family and friends who love the outdoors and swimming is just one of our activities. There are lots of local groups that you can join, “at your own risk” However, I am proud to have built up a small community of swimmers around Portobello and would love to introduce you to both the activity and the Membership group. I am fully qualified (PE Teacher and STA Open Water Coach) and insured and would love to help you to get started. I have added a number of 1:1 and small group sessions to my Booking Page so do have a look and see if anything suits you. If not just et in touch and we can timetable suitable sessions. Maree at wildswimscot@gmail.com

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