Updated: Sep 26, 2020
A particular pleasure I have enjoyed from childhood is sitting by the sea, after a swim, with a towel wrapped around me, simply warming up. The body shivers, working hard to bring its temperature back up, and the mind drifts into a zen state. I remember feeling this as a kid, sitting by our ‘secret spot’ in Southsea. What I didn’t know then was that this feeling, this comfortable state of the brain, was caused by the release of endorphins that follows from swimming in cold water. I still love this feeling whether I get it from the sea or, between guests, from taking a morning dip in The Granary’s unheated pool.
A dialogue I get a lot from potential guests is:
Is your swimming pool heated?
Yes, by the sun.
Is it too cold to swim in?
No, it is never too cold to swim in. I, myself swim in it in December, when it is 4
degrees. I’ve cracked surface ice in January and taken the plunge.
Guests are up for it too. We had a 9-year-old girl swim in it in November when it was 8 degrees. She did 20 lengths and felt wonderful afterwards. And certainly, through the summer months, when the sun warms it all day in the suntrap courtyard, it is the perfect swim. It cools you off, leaving you fresh in the sun, feeling great.
So why don’t we heat it? Well the simple fact is that swimming in a cold pool is far better for you than swimming in a warm one. Gyms and public pools are too warm. They attract bacteria which then has to be killed by strong doses of chlorine. Keeping the water cooler allows us to keep chlorine to a minimum, better for you and the environment. That is just one of the health benefits of cool water swimming. Contact with cold water stimulates and boosts the immune system. It triggers the release of endorphins giving you that glow that lasts for hours afterwards. Cold water swimming jump starts blood circulation and reduces stress. You burn more calories swimming in cold water than you would in warm water. And, finally, it increases your libido! That means more confidence and higher self-esteem.
Of course, you have to be a little careful about how you do it. Get used to the water peacefully. Walk into the water slowly, breathing deeply and steadily. Feel the cold water on your skin, and, when ready, go under look around, and swim.
I promise you, when you walk out of the water after the swim, you will feel alive and strong. And life is so much better when you feel that way.
PS. Sometimes, when I need a bit of encouragement, after cracking the ice, I blast this song out. Gives me the push I need to get under.