Cold Water Acclimatization

This post was a companion to HABITUATION, both of which I wrote in early 2010. Since I revisited and largely rewrote that as Cold Water Habituation, my plan was to do the same in this post also. Acclimatization (acclimatisation for those of us who forego the use of the z)  is a different factor to habituation. While…

Cold Water Habituation

HABITUATION was one of my very first posts, and the first post I wrote about cold and cold water swimming, over four years ago, little realising it would become my favourite subject. Although it is linked in the Cold Water Articles Index, I decided to air it out and rewrite it. (And change those capitals).…

The Worst Three Minutes

Over a year ago I wrote a popular post called The First Three Minutes, which investigated just the first few minutes of a cold water swim. (A real cold water swim, not your balmy 10 degree Celsius getting a tan (50F) water for softies). We know, us cold water swimmers, that passers-by focus on the water…

Cold Water Swimming Articles Index

This post is an index with a very brief explanation of each of the specifically cold swimming related articles I’ve written, so one can scan the entire list for what is most relevant for their question or area of specific interest. I was a bit surprised to see just how many I’ve written. Articles sometimes…

Lewis Pugh

Introducing a precise open water swimming temperature scale

I get asked various questions related to cold because I like to write about it. Those questions often inspire further writing ideas. One thing I realised was there was no good agreement on cold water. A poll of open water gave the following results. Under 5ºC (41ºF) – 0% Under 10ºC (50ºF) – 7% Under 12.5°C (54.5°F)…

Body_Temp_Model

How we FEEL cold water

You could think of this post as something missing from the five-part series Extreme Cold Adaptation in Humans that I wrote. Yes, even with all that I wrote I still missed a major component. When you enter cold water you feel a few different sensations. I talked about habituation and gasp reflex, peripheral vaso-constriction and…

Split lips

A brief chat with Jowita today reminded me of another issue regular cold water may suffer, the problem of lips splitting at the join/crease side of the mouth. If you have this problem, there’s a slight chance it could be improved by increasing Vitamins A, B1 & B6 & C. But only slight I think…

lanolin and other types of grease and lubrication

Salt-water chafing

When we were in Dover two years ago for our two-way relay swim, one day we were getting ready to go swimming in the harbour. Three guys came over to us and we got talking, as is common in Dover. They had come from New York for a one-way relay. They wanted to know why…

The cumulative effects of cold water?

I’m right in the middle of a painful learning experience, and that is the cumulative effects of daily swimming “into” cold or very cold. I’m tired this week as a consequence partly of last Friday’s nine and a half hour swim. But last Sunday I also started to sea swim daily. I’ve swum through the…

“What temperature of water is too cold to swim in?”

Edit: this post, the site’s most popular, has an updated version. This post is courtesy of searches on the site as a few variations of this question have cropped up. I guess one could divide thoughts on lowest possible water temperature in which to swim into three camps. 1 degree WARMER than it is now What…

Merino Wool

Winds shifted North again over the weekend and look likely to stay that way for a while. :-( By today water temperature had dropped down to 7 Celsius (from 8.8 C.), i.e. mid-January and mid-March temperatures. 1 hour and 15 mins on Sunday dropped to 1 hour today. Hands “gone” by 45 minutes and the…

Brown fat vs. white fat

I’ve been doing a bit of reading on some new research papers on body fat (adipose tissue). Most (almost all) of the fat in our bodies is white fat. Fat stores energy and acts as an insulator. White fat specifically, which could be up to 25% of body weight, does not generate heat. Until last…

Women, Men and Cold…

So most of us have noticed a difference between how men and women react to cold, and even that we feel cold at different temperatures, and most noticeably that women will generally feel cold before men. (I’m guessing most men think a duvet with different togs per side is a good idea.) Well, there are…

The Big Drop

Well, we’re into the “lowest water temperature of the year” period. Yesterday I measured 5 Deg. Celsius exactly, 0.1 C lower than the coldest day I swam last year, and 2 degree drop in 2 weeks, 1 week ahead of last years drop. Maybe a month or 6 weeks of this to endure. Air temp…

Long Duration Exposure Effects of Cold Water

This is quite simple but if you really understand it, it explains a lot of other things. We’ve briefly covered the various stages of hypothermia. For regular cold water swimming, the important thing here is that as temperature decreases blood-flow changes. Blood circulation from the extremities to the core decreases, in order to protect the…

La Jolla Bay and a hypothermia tale

I’ve surfed in San Diego and swam in La Jolla Bay, in San Diego, a couple of times, last time in middle 2008. La Jolla particularly was a great swimming experience for a cold water swimmer like. On friday nights all the local triathletes, including some the of the world’s top professionals, swim from La…