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How to keep dipping over the colder months?

Updated: Dec 7, 2023

Rewind back to the start of the summer and I was kindly invited to join a sea swimming group the Sea Slugs by some of my students. A weekly 2km swim quickly became a part of my routine. Whilst over summer I considered this part of my exercise regime I also found the emotional/ psychological benefits of getting in to the sea and the social benefits of being amongst a group of like minded individuals unbeatable.

Over the colder seasons I aim to get in to a body of natural water- a river or the ocean once a week although unlike summer this is definitely more of a dip than a swim. Over the years of living in Devon I have picked up some of my own tips and tricks but I thought I would open it up to the Sea Slugs to provide some of their best pockets of advise to keep you dipping through the year.

Let me start by saying we are in no way experts and this is most defiantly not professional advise. Like with any activity you are ultimately the best judge of your bodies and what you are capable of so follow your gut but if you do choose to get in the water maybe some of this advise may help :).

"Dipping with people is always better than dipping alone" Thom

"Splashing a few times on the face and back of the neck as going in to acclimatise when going in helps allot (for me) when the water gets really cold" Dan

"Focus on your breathing, the body wants to hyperventilate because of the shock but focus on deep breaths and relaxing. Oh, and take a warm drink for afters" Tom

"Everyones bodies are different. Its not a competition. Do not turn purple trying to stay in the longest, get out when you feel it's right" Mikey

"Count down from three, fully submerge, breathe deeply and laugh and smile... Then all your worries wash away" Kiera

"The Exhalation is key, especially for the first 30 seconds" Nye

"Bring clothes that allow you to get dressed quickly (whilst still warm, before your hands stop working)" Steph

"Always have a hot meal lined up for after!" Sarah

"Put your clothes in an insulated bag, with a hot water bottle so you put on warm and dry clothes after your swim" Nicola

"Flask of hot choccie is essential for post swim" Joff

These where honestly just 10 bits of advise I picked from many that the group provided, but also know that there are members of the Sea Slugs that don't get in the water during winter, they may instead choose to watch and giggle or have a warm beverage waiting for us.

The biggest take home for me is enjoy the process, its not a competition, dip with others and make sure that you have warm food, drink and clothes at the ready for when you get out of the water.

Dip happy and stay safe.

Maxine xxx

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