Cold Rush

By Hayley Dow

A massive surge of adrenaline. An instant feeling of being completely and utterly alive. And the most amazing buzz that lasts for hours and hours. Wild swimming in winter is unique. It isn’t type 2 fun. It doesn’t give you the endorphin rush that you get from a physical workout. It’s an intense zing, that starts the moment you’re in.

So if you’ve not tried it, here are five easy steps to getting started:

ONE. Decide to do it. This is it – you’re going in. Find some friends as daft, sorry, brave, as you are. Together, you’ll stick to the plan – and importantly, help keep each other safe.

TWO. Pick your spot. There’s a great community spirit amongst outdoor swimmers so get involved with local Facebook and WhatsApp groups and you’ll often be amazed what you discover.

THREE. Wear a wetsuit if you want. And even a woolly hat. Or just swimwear (as Ali at our Keswick store chooses to do, all year round). You’ll soon find out what you’re comfortable with.

FOUR. Take your time and breathe. Diving in like a wannabe superhero isn’t the way to do it. Stand by the water’s edge and prepare for the “oh sh%^£%!!” as you slide into the water. Then control your breathing and stay calm. And don’t hang about. In cold water just a few seconds counts as a swim .

FIVE. Enjoy the afterglow. It starts the moment you’re out of the water. Sometimes you’re shaking and shaking. Sometimes you sprint around the water’s edge. A hot drink in a cosy jacket is always a winner for us at this point. And even as the warmth gradually spreads through our bodies, the intense feeling of being touched deeply by the cold stays for hours. This is the feeling you’ll love. Anything feels possible now. Wrestle a crocodile. Pogo stick to the moon. Go nuts.

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