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Unless you are made of steel, it is highly unlikely that you will enjoy being in a cold pool. Fortunately, this is a problem that can easily be solved with the right gear and a few easy tips and tricks.
To stay warm in a cold pool, you will need to invest in a few basic gears comprising a wetsuit, earplugs, and neoprene caps. It will further help if you warm up before getting into the cold water, and once you are in, keep moving in the water to conserve and sustain your body heat.
These are, of course, just the basic steps that you could follow. However, if you would like to delve deeper and gain a broader understanding of each step, keep reading.
Warm up for 10-15 minutes to minimize the cold-water shock.
Usually, a 10-minute jog will help prepare your body for the cold water. You could also consider a few other routine exercises such as squats, arm stretches, lounges, and general toe touches. This helps avoid going into the water with relaxed muscles and a low heart rate. Doing a few easy stretches will help raise the body temperature, thereby minimizing the likelihood of any cold-water shock as you get into the pool.
Here is a video that walks you through a simple warm-up routine:
Wear two caps instead of one.
It is believed that one could lose quite a lot of their body heat from their heads. A cap helps retain that body heat. While standard latex caps are more commonly used, a neoprene cap is known to be warmer and more helpful in keeping warm.
Wearing two caps instead of one will help insulate the body heat further as it traps the heat between the two layers of the material and prevents the heat from dissipating quickly. Synergy Swim Cap (available on Amazon.com) is a good investment if you are looking to buy neoprene caps. It is designed to provide excellent heat retention and insulation. The hood covers the ears and the head and has a soft neoprene chin strap making it a very comfortable wear.
Wear a wetsuit to keep the cold at bay.
Getting the right gear is essential to staying warm in a cold pool. A wet suit may be a little difficult to wriggle in and out of, but it provides insulation against the cold water by trapping the heat in. A wet suit will help in temperatures under 65-70°F (18-21°C). According to the USA Triathlon rules, wetsuits are allowed at triathlons with water temperatures of 75°F (23°C) or below.
Ensure that the wet suit is not sleeveless, but rather a full suit. Wearing a sleeveless or a short sleeve suit will allow your body heat to escape through your armpits and the exposed skin surface of your arms.
If you are looking for a high-quality wetsuit, consider buying the Lemorecn Wetsuit (also available at Amazon.com). It is designed for multiple water sports, including diving, kayaking, and paddle boarding. Made of premium neoprene, it is designed for warmth and flexibility.
Invest in some earplugs.
You may also want to invest in a pair of swimming earplugs to keep the cold water out. This way, the earplugs help in keeping your core body temperature up. There are specialized swimmer’s earplugs like the Naohiro Swimming Earplugs that are waterproof and reusable. It is made of silicone material and is ideal for different activities in cold temperatures.
Take your time to wade into the cold pool.
Contrary to what is often believed to be a good practice, it is important that you resist the urge to dive into a cold pool. Instead, take your time and walk into the pool slowly. This will help prevent any cold-water shock. By going into the cold water slowly, you give your body the time it needs to acclimate. This may seem quite uncomfortable at first, but it is still much better than simply diving in and exposing your body to a sudden drop in temperature.
Keep swimming to keep your body warm.
It is important to keep moving in the pool to retain your body temperature. Always remember that the body gets colder if the blood runs slower in your veins. If you stand still in the cold water, your heart rate will slow down, which will lead you to feel cold.
The key, therefore, is to keep the heart rate up. Swimming the whole time continuously while you are in the pool is one way to make sure that your body temperature does not drop.
Train consistently in cold water to develop resistance against the cold.
Like everything else, practice is vital to develop stamina over time. Try to gradually increase your time spent in cold water. The same applies to the water temperature. Start off with relatively warmer temperatures, and build your resistance to the cold by dipping into colder water over time.
Remember that at all times, you need to listen to your body. Some temperatures may prove to be too cold for extended swimming, or there may be times when you may find yourself struggling to breathe. During those instances, step out of the water and get warm by drying yourself off and putting on warm clothes.
Maintain a training schedule. It may take a while and may seem frustrating at first, but if you keep taking swims in cold water consistently, it will gradually help build your resistance to it.
Lather animal fat on your body to conserve body heat.
This is not a very common practice, but some people dab animal fat on their body before donning their wetsuits. Even though this has gained some popularity only recently, some are staunch believers in the benefits of lathering themselves in animal fat to avoid heat loss in cold conditions.
Blow bubbles at first instead of swimming immediately.
To avoid the shock of cold water, casing your lungs to contract and lead to breathing problems, you need to blow bubbles before swimming. It is advisable to go waist-deep into the water first and submerge your face till you begin to blow bubbles. This will help minimize the shock of the cold water and help you ease your way into the pool.
A few things to watch out for.
Pay heed to any signals the body might be sending you while you are in the pool. Get out of the pool immediately if you start shivering uncontrollably, or your heart rate suddenly jumps. These are signs that the body is losing heat at an accelerated rate.
Once you step out of the pool, dry yourself thoroughly, and get dressed in warm clothes to bring the body temperature back to normal.
With that, we come to the end of this post. Hopefully, you found these tips and tricks easy to follow. Subscribing to the practices mentioned above and investing in the appropriate gear will prove vital to maintaining body heat in cold water. Even if the temperatures fall further, keeping your heart rate up will help combat the cold and keep you warm.