Welcome to Wild Swimming!
With summer in… uhh… full swing, you might be thinking about starting your wild/river swimming journey.
We’re here to make your first river swimming session go, well, swimmingly. This week, we’re going to teach you everything you need to take up river swimming. Before anything else, we want to point you towards our River Safety Routine. Even the most placid looking rivers can be dangerous, and it’s incredibly important to make sure you prepare yourself as well as you can.
It’s no surprise that wild or river swimming has surged in popularity during recent years. After all, it has been linked to a number of health benefits—both physical and mental.
- Cold water can decrease your heart rate, reduce blood pressure and generate a calming effect
- One study suggested that cold water could produce an anti-depressive effect
- Cold water can decrease levels of the stress hormone cortisol while boosting levels of dopamine and serotonin, two hormones linked to a positive mental state
- Wild swimming allows you to connect with nature and clear your mind
- Physical exercise in any form has fantastic health benefits – both physical and mental
- Getting out of the house can help you to make new friends, building up a vitally important support network
If that list has you convinced, you might be wondering how to get started. Here are our top tips for finding a river to swim in.
Finding a spot to swim
Finding your first swimming spot can feel daunting; there are so many rivers out there, but how do you know which ones are best?
- Wild Swim is a fantastic, global resource for wild swimmers. It has a comprehensive map, containing some of the best places to swim. People leave reviews of different swimming spots, including any hazards worth watching out for.
- Are you trespassing? Use this guide to check you aren’t trespassing on private land.
- Ask around the area – it’s possible that local people will know of good swimming spots. You could try putting a post up on your town’s Facebook page (if it has one)!
- Make the most of Facebook groups. The Outdoor Swimming Society has its own Facebook group where you could ask for suggestions, and many cities have their own wild swimming groups, too!
Before anything else, give our River Safety Routine a thorough read. Keep your eyes peeled for our next blog on what equipment you need to start wild swimming (spoiler alert: it’s much simpler than you think!).