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' - and 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.
Now after reading that it doesn’t sound particularly appealing (quite dangerous if anything) hence the decorated fabrications of “Its amazing” (which it is) but, once you can teach someone to focus on a process and switch their mindset of the experience, its an “amazing” feeling and amazing to see what you can overcome.
There is nothing more that I enjoy seeing than someone changing their thought process about anything but in particular to overcome and conquer predispositions about getting into the sea.
“It’s merely a mindset switch.”
We’ve all heard of the term “mindset” (one of the many buzzwords of 2020 and 2021 alongside with adaptability, agility, flexibility that every organisation in order to survive these days have) before, but a ted talk I listened to from Dr.Alicia Crum defining and speaking about mindset and how, “ it is merely a slide show of how you perceive an up and coming event or task in your life”, this really speaks to me.
Before we have ever done anything in our life, no matter what it is that is presented to us, we expect an outcome and predict how we think we are going to feel and react to the scenario. Now if we all thought this way when getting into the Irish Sea ,than nobody would swim.
“The water is cold, why would I do that do myself?, I am lovely and warm thank you very much, I will skip the swim and just go for a coffee instead”
The difference between someone who enjoys the cold immersion and someone who doesn’t is for many possible reasons but the main one being, their thought process, perception and focus is thinking about the feeling during the experience as opposed to thinking about the feeling after the experience. That cold immersion feeling can be both enjoyed and endured by anybody if you are in the right positive mindset.
I am not saying that the cold will go away all of a sudden , I am not saying you will not feel the cold but what I am saying is that if you can think about the experience differently you will overcome your perceptions and reap the benefits.
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.
Now once your mind is in that positive headspace, what if I was able to guarantee you that you would be instantly warm straight after your swim ?
"How? you can’t promise me that".
What if I had a sauna right at your swimming location to warm your body up once you finished your swim and reap double the benefits of hot and cold immersion therapy.?
We are the “helping hand”.
We help any individual achieve, conquer and embrace the fear of the unknown. Once you can change the way you think about something before you've even experienced it, there is not a lot of things you will say no to until you find out for yourself.
Where is your mind at now ?