Surviving winter, flu free, and how (I think) swimming in cold water may have had a helping hand…


It’s official; I’ve survived the entire of
the winter with out a lot as a snivel. I can say this with confidence as a result of
the vernal equinox that marks the start of spring, after what seems like a
actually lengthy and chilly winter, has lastly occurred.
Most years I catch one thing or different,
even though yearly I take the identical a number of precautions to cut back
my odds. Precautions like: a every day dose of Berocca, 2 relations (each
asthmatic) frog marched to the medical doctors for flu jabs, no going exterior with moist hair, hand sanitizerers positioned strategically round the home, together with every day lectures for my poor, lengthy
struggling teenagers on usually utilizing them (no must be sparing, I’ve actually purchased
one million bottles) and vetting anybody getting into the home for any proof of
chilly/flu signs and turning them away if crucial (I say vetting – it’s
just about a prolonged questionnaire, and by the point they’ve stuffed it in,
while nonetheless on the doorstep, I’m hoping they only don’t suppose we’re definitely worth the
go to, and are available again another time – like spring).

So what’s completely different about this 12 months? It
might be that my many precautions have lastly paid dividends, nonetheless, there may be one different factor that I did in another way this winter, and that was to do some chilly water swimming. Now I could be clutching at straws right here, as it could properly simply be coincidence, however hear me out…

the tip of the summer season swimming season final 12 months (normally October someday relying on
the water temperature), I made a decision to proceed open water swimming by means of the
I don’t know why I wished to hold on
this 12 months. I’m normally up for attempting one thing completely different (though wild horses
or the promise of a shed load of money as an incentive wouldn’t get me sky
diving). Prior to now as soon as the water temperature has dropped to beneath a cold
15oc my swim bud and I name it a day and head, again to the heat of the overly
sizzling pool and wait the winter on the market, which is why, earlier than I continued to
swim open water, I armed myself with all that would go improper, in any case
swimming in chilly water might be harmful. I did the analysis into the potential
risks. I examine chilly shock. I examine hypothermia. I examine after drop
and I accomplished a course, the place I usually swim, concerning the risks of chilly
water and the way your physique responds and, armed with this sobering data, might
be forgiven for altering my thoughts again once more, hanging up my wetsuit and leaving properly
till spring, nonetheless didn’t, and determined that I’d prefer to attempt it.

I did. The factor that stunned me essentially the most about swimming in chilly water was
how I felt, how energising it was. Sure my fingers and toes went
numb, sure I felt my pores and skin (the bits I might really feel) was burning and sure as soon as I acquired
out I used to be shivering so arduous my fillings had been in peril of being dislodged and,
one among my toes somewhat randomly went a fragile shade of puce (?), nonetheless I used to be
additionally feeling fairly euphoric, and I used to be not alone. At first I assumed this would possibly only a response, as I used to be so delighted to outlive my first chilly swim and truly get pleasure from it, however lots of the of us sitting
with me warming by means of, lined in numerous swim coats and all sporting layer
upon layer of clothes and draped in sizzling water bottles, attempting to drink sizzling
drinks sporting gloves, with out spilling it, had been seasoned winter swimmers, additionally gave the impression to be having fun with it. One thing should preserve them coming again, after
all, there are few of us that may get into bitterly chilly water to threat chilly
shock and/or hypothermia after which to undergo a prolonged and generally painful restoration
afterwards, week after week, with no acquire aside from the guilt free slice of cake
afterwards and a meet up with pals, when there are a whole lot of cafes in all places for
that! And so this acquired me asking round, why do these folks swim in chilly water?

solutions had been various, however the frequent denominator was as a result of they felt there
had been numerous well being advantages, from it serving to with ache aid to enhancing circulation,
one fellow swimmer, who shall stay anonymous (however who you might be), was
very eager to share their completely happy information of an elevated libido, I believe they had been
teasing me, however not keen to threat it I made up a feeblish excuse to depart while
saying “how pretty” (Very first thing that got here out. Why oh why did I say that?);
one girl, Jaz, spoke with me quietly (and along with her permission I’m sharing her
story) and advised me that she began swimming underneath the advisement of her physician.
A prolonged battle with melancholy had led to her overeating and subsequently turning into
severely obese. After a very troublesome time frame, and alongside
with the assist of medical doctors and a therapist, Jaz determined she wished to commit
to attempting once more at life, she was able to take again management, and break the
cycle. She determined to do that by means of health, and at 23 stone she knew that
swimming was the one train that may put her physique underneath the least pressure. Jaz
started open water swimming a few years in the past, and through that point she met and have become agency pals with a
girl who wished to attempt chilly water swimming, and so to assist her good friend, Jaz
determined to provide it a go somewhat than getting again within the pool for the winter.
She advised me that she seen instantly how her temper had lifted when she was
within the chilly water, and afterwards. Shocked, she went on to perform a little research
to see if there have been any hyperlinks between chilly water swimming and melancholy. She
added that chilly water swimming had been, and nonetheless was an important a part of her
restoration. Since that preliminary dip she has continued to swim all year long,
and has even ditched her wetsuit to skins swim. She has since swum two Ice
Miles (water underneath 5oc in skins). After I requested her why two? In spite of everything, one is
a tremendous achievement already, Jaz agreed, however identified that her first one was
a 12 months in the past, when she was at her heaviest, and though she was profitable, felt
that she had cheated in a roundabout way as she was so heavy when she did it. She had
wished to show that she might do it and, so within the curiosity of equity, she
swam one other one this January, after an unbelievable 11 stone weight reduction! (I’d
additionally like so as to add to that, his wonderful girl has additionally swum Windermere one-way,
that’s an enormous 10.5 miles, and competed in two IM’s!) She completed by saying
“Chilly swimming is a big a part of my toolkit and if I didn’t have it, I’ve no
doubt I wouldn’t have made the progress I’ve.”

As soon as I acquired house I made a decision to look the Web for some extra info. I
discovered that there have been tons of tales of a tremendous number of well being advantages
, each bodily and
psychological, many greater than I heard about earlier,
which are
properly documented amongst swi
mmers, nonetheless when it got here to any analysis or scientific
proof (because of lack of analysis somewhat than the rest) I discovered it to be
somewhat skinny on the bottom. Regardless of this, I did discover a glimmer of hope, which
was a narrative, lately lined in a number of newspapers. They reported on a
latest case research within the
British Medical Journal (BMJ) that tells of a person in power ache 10 weeks after surgical procedure. After
standard medication, physiotherapy and train failed to assist, the person determined
to go for an open water swim (he had been a triathlete previous to his surgical procedure) to
assist take his thoughts off the ache, and after swimming in water at 10.5oc for simply
a minute his ache disappeared. Medical doctors had been baffled and will give you no
different rationalization. Though the BMJ had been clear to level out that this was simply
one case, and that with out additional proof they may not say whether or not it might
be linked, however add that with out some other rationalization it might have helped.
is wonderful is that on the again of this case research specialists at Cambridge College and the
College of East Anglia are actually calling for some analysis to analyze chilly
water remedy. Think about if the findings are beneficial? Not just for people who
endure power ache and lots of different well being issues, but in addition for our struggling
NHS. Different specialists are additionally calling for a research into the consequences of chilly water on the
human physique, and a few are already creating trials, and if it may be scientifically confirmed, what a tremendous, and free,
various to conventional drugs, with no negative effects (with maybe the
exception of puce colored toes) chilly water immersion might be?

One thing I learn that actually me was that one of many well being advantages claimed by swimming in chilly water is that it might enhance your immune system, ensuing in fewer diseases. This winter’s figures from Public Well being England present that the 2017-18
flu outbreak was the worst since 2010-11, regardless of 1.5 million extra folks having
the flu jab since final 12 months. This makes it makes it much more wonderful that I’ve
managed to keep away from catching something. You would argue after all that this was a contented
coincidence, that it was simply luck, and even good administration (like shopping for the grocery store’s entire provide of hand 
sanitisers) on my half, nonetheless
you additionally couldn’t rule out the likelihood that it might have been that I swam in
chilly water this winter… Here is hoping – 
and analysis pending!

I’d similar to so as to add a security sentence or two, or a warning should you want.

Chilly water might be very harmful. Please don’t simply plunge in. Moving into chilly water with out the best recommendation and
assist, with out placing too finer level on it, can result in dying (sorry to be
blunt). Please, please search medical steering first, particularly if in case you have an
underlying well being situation. Learn all you possibly can on the risks first, and by no means
swim alone, and please contemplate doing a course that tells you in very tremendous element all that
I’ve simply stated, and swim with people who know their stuff. I’ve added right here
the hyperlinks to the blogs I wrote about chilly shock and hypothermia to provide you an
And eventually nonetheless, should you get pleasure from studying my
blogs you may additionally get pleasure from studying my first e-book, which was revealed earlier
this 12 months. It’s about my 2017 journey from surgical procedure to swimming Windermere one
method – and all of the shenanigans within the middle- of which there have been many – largely
involving a vivid creativeness and/or cake… Right here’s the hyperlink. phrases=jacqui+hargrave


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