Swimming in winter: important tips | American Lifeguard USA

Don’t let the cold prevent you from doing the sport you like the most! Here are some tips for swimming in winter in the coldest months of the year.

Low temperatures are an external factor that undoubtedly works against the performance of certain sports. In this sense, water sports and those carried out in the open air are the main victims. Can you swim in winter?

This is a query that many fans of this sport often ask. Of course, an obvious answer comes immediately: it is impossible to do it outdoors and in unheated swimming pools, unless you have material specifically designed for it – such as wetsuits for diving – although even then it is not advisable.

Therefore, the requirement to swim in a sports center with indoor and heated pools is imposed from the beginning. However, we can also list other recommendations for swimming and lifeguard class in winter. Meet some below.

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5 tips for swimming in winter

Except in countries where low temperatures exceed below zero degrees, sports practice in cold weather does not pose a vital risk to people. However, being a water sport, swimming requires taking into account some important considerations.

  1. The water temperature is essential

Of course, in cold seasons swimming in open water is totally ruled out except for professionals equipped for such situations, as well as the performance of this sport in the open air.

To practice swimming, you should resort to sports centers that have heated swimming pools. In addition, these must be located in closed areas.

  1. Chilling should be avoided

Even indoors, the cooling immediately after physical activity may lead to health problems as respiratory disorders. Also, as the cold causes peripheral vascular contraction, this can be harmful to hypertensive people.

For this reason, it is highly advisable to put on dry clothes as soon as possible after finishing the swimming session. Also, when returning home, it is best to bundle up appropriately to avoid a sudden change in body temperature.

  1. Do not add extra garments

Although we previously mentioned that it is important to avoid chilling, it is worth mentioning that it is not necessary to wear additional clothing when swimming in winter.

We must consider that the body by itself generates heat when doing physical exercise. Therefore, if we make the mistake of using, for example, a wetsuit for indoor swimming, we will be unnecessarily overheating the body.

This, in addition to being detrimental to the athlete’s performance, could also be very dangerous to health. If you think your body is cold enough to start swimming, it’s okay to wear thermal clothing to warm yourself out of the water. However, when entering the pool, wear the same clothing that you would wear in any other circumstance.

  1. Consume fluids regularly

Hydration is essential in a sport like swimming and lifeguarding training, even in winter. As we said, the body generates heat during exercise and, even if we do not notice it, we lose water when we swim.

Given these changes, the recommendation to drink fluids before, during, and after swimming in winter is maintained. You can resort to drinking water or sports drinks, but avoid those that contain sugar, carbonated, and, of course, alcoholic beverages.

  1. Beware of injuries when swimming in winter

In winter it is more difficult for the muscles – and for the body in general – to get ready to exercise. Therefore, the importance of a good warm-up becomes even more important.

On the other hand, although it seems a somewhat ‘extreme’ warning, we must be careful not to suffer from hypothermia. This occurs when the body temperature falls below 36 ° without the body being able to recover.

Precisely, a common cause of hypothermia is excess training, before which the body runs out of resources to raise the temperature. Its symptoms are dizziness, lack of coordination, or even speech problems.

Finally, it is worth mentioning that the above advice applies to athletes in ‘normal’ health conditions. If you suffer from asthma, a chronic respiratory condition or another problem of this nature, it is best that you consult your doctor about what precautions to take when swimming in winter.