Back again to the same old subject of Cold

Cold Water:

I often put on my togs before leaving the house. (Saves me a minute or two of cooling down before getting in the water). Most important on windy days. I stay warm as long as possible. Uncomfortably warm is good!

How do you feel in the water?
How are your fingers/feet?
What are today’s conditions?
Are you having fun? (After all, isn’t that why you’re doing it?)

Get dressed as quickly as possible. Try to be dressed within 5 minutes.
(Have something stand on while getting dressed. I use a €2 rubber car mat.) Choice of clothes is important. (Anyone used to outdoor pursuits knows denim isn’t good. It does not retain warmth and is particularly bad when damp.) Hat. Gloves, etc.

Warm/hot drinks are psycholoigically comforting, but pretty useless for rewarming. The discrepency in temperature between body & drink is far outweighted by the fact that the body weighs a couple of hundred times what the drink does. For drink to be effective in raising core temperature, one would have to drink a couple of gallons.

Wearing clothes that trap & retain the maximum radiated body heat is more effective. As is exercise, which will raise your temperature internally (exothermically). After a cold swim you will only need moderate exercise for the effect so a walk is good.

Why not? You measure it, it will get better.


5 thoughts on “Back again to the same old subject of Cold

  1. Hey, great info and inspiration here. I’ve been swimming in Lake Tahoe, California once a week since august. We go in the morning before I work, as the sun comes up. So it’s been around 0c outside. I don’t know the water temps. Anyways, went for a personal distance record, prob about a mile. Not much of a swimmer I just like being in the water; but getting out today was incredibly difficult. I couldn’t feel my fingers enough to even get changed and I had to walk to the car and warm up a bit to be able to. Even walking a straight line seemed impossible. Do I need to go more often than once per week to really make substantial gains in terms of acclimization? Also, I feel pretty good until I get out. How can I better prepare for Afterdrop?? Thanks!!


  2. Hi LoneSwimmer! I really appreciate the knowledge you share with people. I’m a beginner cold water swimmer, it is now 13C here in the river where I swim and I try to stay for 20 mins (maybe one day I can be as cool as you guys and swim a mile in ice water). I was wondering why you indicated in couple of your articles that warm showers are not recommended after the swim but I couldn’t find a reason why not behind it. Does this have to do with a body trying to raise its internal temperature by itself and by showering we would help our bodies so much that it would become “lazy”? Or is it just not effective same as having a warm drink?


    • Hi Andrew, and thanks. Neither reason. It’s actually for safety. Sudden exposure to warm water in a shower will cause cold blood from the periphery to flow to the core faster and can cause blackouts leading to people collapsing.

      Having a warm drink won’t raise your temperature, as the volume of drink is too low compared to the size of your body, though they are enjoyable after a cold swim.


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