Benefits of Cold Water Swimming with Charlotte Lodey - St Moritz Hotel

We sat down with Charlotte Lodey, Life Coach, Blue Health practitioner and co-host for our upcoming charity swim here at the St.Moritz Hotel. Charlotte was born in Penzance and has spent her life growing up near the coast and being in nature at any opportunity. Even though she works internationally, she always makes time for a cold water dip when she’s back in Cornwall. We wanted to know why the cold water craze continues to grow and how you can get involved.

What are the benefits of cold water immersion?

Cold water immersion, often known as cold therapy, offers several physical and mental health benefits. When exposed to cold water, blood vessels constrict, reducing inflammation and muscle soreness. Cold exposure can also trigger the release of endorphins and norepinephrine, improving mood and mental alertness. Most people when they come out of cold water feel energised, happy and smiling with a sense of achievement.

The practice of cold water immersion helps to understand how to regulate your nervous system, to recover quicker from stress and anxiety. This is done from slowing down your heart rate and respiratory rate to manage the cold temperatures. This practice will also help when not in the water as a tool for managing stress levels.

How do you experience it safely?

Choose Safe Locations and use designated swimming areas or controlled environments like cold plunge pools to minimise risks associated with natural bodies of water. Have someone nearby to monitor your cold water immersion, especially if you’re new to the practice. Try joining an online facebook community that regularly swims so you have the support and guidance for your first experience. If you are swimming in open water be sure to take a bright tow float and be sure to check shipping lanes and moorings.

You have to know your limits. Cold water therapy is not a competition, pay attention to your body’s signals. Everyone is different, if you feel any sensations change in your body, then exit the water. Don’t stay in longer than necessary, it will make it harder to warm up and you run the risk of hypothermia.

If you are new to the practice then start small, maybe acclimatize with cold showers first and with short amounts of time in the plunge pools or bodies of water.

Warm-Up Afterwards is key. Remove any wet clothes and get dry immediately.  Engage in light physical activity or use warm blankets and a hot drink to raise your body temperature gradually after the cold exposure. Do not jump straight in a hot shower. This will rush all the blood to your skin’s surface, causing you to potentially pass out. Get a wooly hat on as the heat escapes quickly from your head.

If you really struggle with pins and needles in your fingers and toes and are new to the practice,  try wearing swim socks and gloves in the water. These are made of thin wetsuit material and help you to enjoy the experience if you have poor circulation or raynards.

If you have any pre-existing health conditions or concerns, consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating cold water immersion into your routine.

Remember that individual responses to cold water can vary, so it’s essential to prioritise your safety and well-being while practicing cold water immersion.

 

Why do you love it so much?

I love cold water swimming and immersion because it gets me out of my comfort zone. I feel energised, excited, positive and ready to take on anything in my day. It’s like a rush of feel good hormones that gives you confidence and empowerment.

I also love the community we have built in Cornwall of amazing cold water dippers. There is always someone to swim with and a whole lot of encouragement for anyone wanting to try it.

I feel over the last few years where I have been doing it more and more, I have a deeper sense of gratitude for the environment around me. I feel more emotionally connected to nature and live more in the moment as a result.

Does it have to be the sea?

The great thing about cold water immersion is that it can be any body of water as long as its cold! So a cold shower, a hose in the garden, a ice bath, an outdoor swimming pool, a lake, the ocean. Just remember to follow the safety rules and go with a friend.

Most importantly have fun!!!!

How can I get involved?

 

There are many ways to join in on Cold Water Swimming!

  1. Join the Balance Me event on January 19th to find out more about Blue therapy with Charlotte Lodey, have a cold dip and meet some local cold swimmers – tickets available here 
  2. Join the St Moritz’s Cold Water Coffee Club on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday – to find out more join their Facebook group here

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