The health benefits of open water swimming

While we’ve long been promoting the virtues of pool swimming, did you know there are extra health benefits to open swimming?

The majority of these are based on the temperature of water in open water swimming being that little bit colder.

We teamed up with London Marathon Events – organisers of Swim Serpentine – to put together six healthy perks to going for an open water dip.

6 health benefits of open water swimming

  1. Better sleep

    When you swim outdoors, the cold water stimulates your parasympathetic nervous system (PNS), which is responsible for repairing the body.

    Stimulating the PNS promotes a feeling of relaxation, often with a sense of contentment, which should deliver a better night’s sleep.

  2. Better circulation

    When we become cold, blood rushes to our organs, making our hearts work a little bit harder.

    Every time you swim outdoors, the cold water helps to boost your circulation by pumping blood through your capillaries, arteries and veins.

  3. Increased happiness

    You’ll know that immersing yourself in cold water. Whether in the sea, the Serpentine or simply in the shower, it can make your skin sting and take your breath away.

    To reduce the stinging sensation, your brain releases endorphins (painkillers produced by your body), which results in a feeling of wellbeing once you’re back on dry land.

    Combine this with a workout in the great outdoors (proven to reduce stress and promote mental wellbeing) and you have a powerful way to inject some happiness into your day!

  4. Increased metabolism

    Swimming in cold water makes your body work harder to keep warm, which increases the number of calories you burn.

    The colder the water, the more energy your body will convert from fat to fire up your metabolism and keep your core temperature stable.

  5. Boosted immune system

    Immersing your body in cold water for an hour can shock the immune system and help produce more white blood cells and more antioxidants.

    This can help to boost your immune system and reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer.

  6. Better skin

    Cold water exfoliates the skin, flushing out impurities and making it smoother. This all adds up to you feeling better inside and out every time you swim outdoors.