Winterbathing for Dummies (Part Two – Taking the Plunge!)

Last time I gave you a rundown of what you’ll need to do before you try winterbathing ( Winterbathing for Dummies (Part One – Be Prepared!)

So, are you ready to go down to the beach and ‘take the plunge’? ;)

February 2012 – the North sea has turned into slushice!

Here’s what you need to know, before you take that first step into the cold, cold water…

  • Remember, remember, always bring a friend with you – either to join you in the water, or keep an eye on you from the water’s edge.
  • You can walk right in from the edge of the water, but it’s easier from a bathing bridge. Your aim is to get in fairly deep – up to your neck – as quickly as possible.
  • Check the water before you get in. Are there any stinging jellyfish hanging around, just waiting to strike? 

    The winterbather’s arch enemy…stinging jellyfish!

  • Remove your bathrobe (on windy days, you’ll need to physically tie it to the bathing bridge…) and remove your shoes last (your feet get colder faster than your body).
  • Be resolute.   Walk right in – don’t stop!  Say to yourself that you are going to take 2, 4 or 6 swimstrokes in the water.  Don’t allow yourself to think “Yikes, I’m freezing”.  It really is a question of mind over matter! 
  • Do not hop in – it’s dangerous (very hard on the heart, especially at low temperatures).
  • There is no need to put your head underneath the water if you don’t want to.  I never put my head under (unless it’s the summer).  Keeping your hair dry will keep your head warm!  (I wear a little wooly hat when it’s very blustery/ice cold.)
  • If you begin to feel heavy/very relaxed, get out of the water immediately.  It’s a sign that your heart/body are working overload.  What will happen next is that your body will shut down any ‘unnecessary’ functions like hearing/sight etc.  Not a nice feeling.
  • When you come up, quickly dry yourself off and get your bathrobe back on pronto (we don’t want to frighten any passers-by!)
  • You’ll notice that parts of your body (usually it’s fingers and toes) will have turned brighted red or orange.  Quite normal – don’t panic.  Your normal colour should return in a couple of minutes. 

    Cold fingers!

Tillykke!  Congratulations!  Yep, you did it.  And should be left feeling a) enormously proud of yourself  b) very warm, considering the fact that you are standing on a deserted, cold, blustery beach… :)

Join me next time for Winterbathing for Dummies – The Aftermath!