How to make your cold water swim more enjoyable as the temperature drops

The days of throwing on a summer dress, or a pair of shorts over a damp swimsuit have disappeared. As the shiver seasons of autumn/winter roll in, it is imperative to prepare for cold water swimming and the aftermath of the big chill.

How to warm up after cold water swimming

Understanding Afterdrop

To understand why warming yourself up after a cold swim is so important, you first need to know what afterdrop is.

Afterdrop is the phenomenon of your body’s temperature continuing to drop even after you are out of the cold water and resting in a warmer environment.

When you are swimming, your body shuts down the circulation to your skin, bringing the warm blood to your core, this then helps you stay in the water longer. The reduced circulation to the outside surface of your skin and fat forms a thermal layer, like a natural wetsuit.

When you exit the water, the cooling process does not stop straight away. Whilst drying on the sand, the cold layer of skin and muscle continues to cool your core. This can bring on shivering, hypothermia, or feeling faint and unwell.

The key to getting warmer

There are two basic guidelines for getting dressed after swimming: 

  • Get your swimming costume off as quickly as you can
  • Get your clothes on as quickly as you can

These instructions may sound obvious, but choosing the right items of clothing, and getting dressed the right way makes the whole thing easier, and more enjoyable. 

Essential items for Cold Water Swimming

Wild Atlantic Surf Co Wet & Dry Changing Robe

Wild Atlantic Surf Co Dry Robe

The wet & dry changing robe is a shower-proof, fat fleece-lined zip-up with kimono sleeves, which you can wear as a coat. It’s very roomy so you can get changed underneath it, with the ability to remove your wetsuit in privacy and warmth courtesy of the two-way zipper.

Through a waterproof and windproof outer layer, the insulating fabric prevents you from feeling cold and wet. The lining helps draw the water away from the skin to preserve energy and regulate your body temperature. 

Wild Atlantic Surf Co Sand Free Beach Towel

Wild Atlantic Surf Co - Sand Free Beach Towel

Limited space in your bag but not wanting to comprise on softness? This compact yet extra-large quick-drying towel  is made from fast-drying high-tech fabric that’s designed to last. The sand-free towel is ideal for those who want to dry themselves in comfort. 

The quick-drying towels consist of small, thin fibers which absorb and release water easier than conventional towels. This speeds up the process of drying off after a cold water swim. The quick release of water means the microfiber towel will be dry and ready to go again the next time you need it.

A bonus is that the Wild Atlantic Sand Free Beach Towel repels granules of sand so you don’t end up taking half the beach home.

Wild Atlantic Surf Co SOS Balm

Wild Atlantic Surf Co SOS Balm

You will have heard the term ‘wind chill’ before. This is the temperature that it feels like outside based on the rate of heat loss from exposed skin. This is due to the effects of wind, water presence, and cold air. The temperature drops as the wind and wetness increase, meaning the body cools down at a faster rate causing the skin temperature to drop. Wild Atlantic Surf Co SOS balm forms a boundary layer on your skin. The result is less heat being carried away from the skin creating warmer skin for a longer duration.  As a protective barrier or base layer, the balm insulates your skin from the elements, almost like a wetsuit for your face whilst swimming!

The benefits of the SOS balm don’t finish there. After you come out of the water and dry yourself with our sand-free towel, it is important to nourish and moisturise your face and body. Apply plenty of our SOS balm to get your skin cells back to health and ready to resume their protective work. 

You must be well prepared for your cold water swimming adventure. There is an element of risk that is addictive for us when we go outdoors. That said with a bit of forward planning and the correct kit, you can avoid those uncomfortable chilly moments afterward.

November 08, 2021 — Andrew Marsden