A guide to cold water swimming in the mountains
The number of days to go swimming outdoors in Alberta is limited due to the province’s typically harsh winters unless you’re ready to go outside your comfort zone and jump into freezing water. Everyone living in Calgary or planning to live in Calgary needs a guide to cold water swimming in the mountains. Don’t worry, this article is exactly what you are looking for.
A simple plunge in cold water may be energizing, invigorating, and enlightening. However, due to a Dutchman called Wim Hof, research has started to demonstrate the physiological benefits of immersion in cold water in recent years.
Hof is known for doing extraordinary feats of cold resistance, such as hiking Mount Everest in just his shorts or spending hours in an ice bath. He devised a program that included breathing, cold-water exposure, and discipline to accomplish these accomplishments. The Wim Hof Method, as it’s called, is said to boost the immune system, increase energy, reduce stress, and improve overall well-being.
To be technical, combining breathing methods with cold-water immersion boosts adrenaline production, which aids the body’s anti-inflammatory response. This suggests that a cold-water plunge aids in the recovery of swollen joints and muscles and seems to assist with inflammatory autoimmune disorders. Put another way, the concentration necessary to maintain breathing and relaxation while frozen is a fantastic approach to learning mindfulness and body awareness.
Sabrina Figliomeni, a Calgary-based cold-water diver and free diver swim and dives in the chilly waters of the Alberta Rockies daily. While a few companies in Calgary provide cold-water treatment in a controlled environment, such as Redox Wellness, and a few native locations within Calgary city boundaries to jump in the water, little compares to being in the calm of the mountains surrounded by nature.
There are a few measures you should take, according to Figliomeni, to make your cold-water plunge the finest and friendliest possible experience.
“Take a deep breath before entering the sea,” Figliomeni advises. Before going into the water, practice deep breathing exercises by taking long, deep breaths in and out. This enables oxygen to reach the circulation. Your body will begin to shut off blood supply to your hands and feet and direct it to your essential organs, preventing your torso from becoming too cold too rapidly. Relaxing in the water may also be achieved by maintaining steady breathing. “You could gasp at the first chilly shock,” Figliomeni warns. “However, do not hyperventilate.” It could make you worry and make the entire job appear more complicated than it is.”
Figliomeni also emphasizes the significance of wearing correct footwear while entering and exiting the water since any unpleasant sensations will cause you to lose concentration on your breathing. On bare feet, the bottoms of alpine lakes may be rough and uncomfortable, and the cold will add to the discomfort. Water shoes, Crocs, or even thick socks will aid in maintaining the attention required for a safe cold-water encounter.
Another essential consideration is the presence of a spotter. Things may always go wrong, so remain near the beach with a partner to keep an eye on you. “Make sure you and your friend are aware of the signs and indications of hypothermia and the appropriate first-aid measures,” Figliomeni advises. (Shivering, weariness, bewilderment, clumsy hands, memory problems, difficulty speaking, and sleepiness are all symptoms of hypothermia.) She adds that, apart from safety, having the experience of diving into the frigid water with a companion is always more enjoyable.
However, since safety is always paramount, her advice is to take a step back if you feel uneasy. “Don’t try to be a hero.” Proceed with care if this is your first time,” Figliomeni advises. “Or, even greater, do your first [dip] in a controlled atmosphere, like Redox Wellness, where you’ll be safe.” If you intend to pursue a natural cold-water dip, carry a safety rope with you. “Your initial dips will be brief,” she explains, “but you will be able to prolong them with repetition.” “When it relates to the cold, the body is great at defending itself, therefore embrace the feelings.”
When you come out of the water, instead of jumping into your vehicle and blasting the heat, have a couple of towels available — one to stand on and one to dry off with — and switch into dry clothing as soon as possible (Figliomeni prefers a dry robe, like Red Paddle Co.’s changing robes, or maybe something similar). Because the surge of cold blood from your extremities to your body core can disrupt your body and organs, you’ll want to let your body warm up gently and gradually.
Figliomeni’s recommendation? “Go for a stroll and marvel at what you’ve just accomplished.”
These recommendations can help anyone who plans to swim in the cold water in the mountains. Tell us in the comments how much these recommendations were helpful to you.