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Embracing The Cold

We have entered into our final week of our “Fad Saoil Family” Movember Campaign, so grateful for all the support through our community and beyond for a great cause this November, it’s been a bright light for many through a year which has been tough for us all. We are incredibly close to our original target or 10,000, huge sum of money which we hope will be able to make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate that us. We still have a few more days to go so check your purses and wallets, anything is more than nothing, thank you!

Our Movember Team:

We, and many of you, heard of the tragic passing at the Forty Foot last week, we offer our sincerest condolences to the effect family and friends of the man, may he rest in peace.

Please take to the water with care, especially as it becomes colder and more vicious, if it looks too bad, it probably is. But for the time when its safe to enter and get you dose of Vitamin Sea, we have a few tips (From our Director Steve Crosbie) for all as we enter the colder months of the year, your safety should be top of your list.

What happens to your body when you enter cold water?

When entering cold water, cold receptors very close to the surface of your skin sense that your skin has been cooled quickly. This results in an initial gasp, followed by rapid, uncontrollable breathing, as well as an increase in heart rate and blood pressure.

This process - also known as the 'cold shock response' - is why it is important that you always enter cold water slowly. By ensuring that you are over the peak of the initial 'cold shock response' and have controlled your breathing before you start to swim, you will reduce the risk of your body taking in one or two slightly larger than normal inhalations. If this happens when you are underwater, it could be lethal.

Should I enter cold water in stages?

The advantage of a staged entrance into cold water is that the peak of the cold shock response elicited from your initial immersion in the water will have lessened.

Whilst it has been shown that swimmers that are accustomed to cold water have reduced cold shock and shivering responses, it is still advisable from a safety perspective to enter cold water slowly to ensure that your breathing is controlled.

What changes occur in the body during a swim in cold water?

Following the initial cooling of your skin, your muscles and nerves start to cool. If you stay in for long enough, this will eventually result in the loss of strength and coordination.

Your arms are particularly susceptible to cooling, to the point where swimmers may not be able to coordinate a swimming action or effect a self-rescue in cold enough water.

If you notice a change in your or another swimmer's posture in the water (a more vertical than horizontal body position) and a more splashy stroke, this may be a sign of muscle cooling.

How can you tell that you and other swimmers are adapting to the cold?

You can reduce your 'cold shock response' with repeated immersions in cold water.

Repeated exposure to cold water will mean that you will hyperventilate less and will be able to start swimming sooner as you will be able to control your breathing more rapidly.

You will know that you are adapting as you should feel more comfortable on repeated exposure to cold water and shiver less when immersed in water of the same temperature for the same duration of time.

The temperature threshold at which you start shivering should also reduce. This is known as hypothermic adaption.

You may cool more rapidly, but will start to shiver vigorously when the new lower shivering threshold is reached, and will start to 'defend' your deep body temperature closer to the medical definition of hypothermia (35°C).

We hope to be back in no time to help with the cold water immersion, but until then please stay safe, both in & out of the water, have a great week and all the best!

Fad Saoil x

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