Sea dipping

What to know before taking the plunge!

Seven years ago, Emily Allen, Sports Development Manager at Places Leisure, made a pact with herself that by time she hit 30, she would be living by the sea. Fast forward to two weeks before her 30th birthday and she was moving into her new home by the coast!

Ever since the big move, Emily has never looked back. “I have really embedded myself in the local community and part of making my connection was managing the local Yoga studio. Through this community I met some really wonderful people and I was introduced to the holistic side of health which not only coincided with the movement of yoga but also the importance of breath work and mindfulness.” she said.

This is when cold water exposure came into Emily’s life. 

Made popular by advocates such as Wim Hof, also known as The Ice Man, many people associate cold water exposure with ice baths. Taking a dip into an ice bath didn’t sound too therapeutic to Emily, so she decided to make use of what was on her doorstep – the sea!

As with anything new, it took some practice for Emily to feel comfortable with taking the plunge. Everything she’s learned, she’s turned into her own checklist:

  • Always go with someone, you cannot control the environment of the sea so having someone or a group is the safest, it’s also a wonderful experience to share! Just make sure you know the water and the signs for any potential danger. If in doubt - do not go in.
  • A good rule of thumb is that the temperature of the water should correlate to how many minutes you stay in the water. “Ego should never be the driver. Cold water exposure carries some real dangers and you need to respect the water and the temperature.” Emily adds.
  • Wear appropriate clothes both in and out of the water. While in the water, Emily wears aqua shoes, a swimming costume, and a beanie if needed. Once she’s out of the water, a dry towel, clothes, socks, gloves, and a robe jacket are essential to help gradually warm the body.
  • Controlling of your breath is key. Nasal breathing and keeping your mind as calm as possible will make the experience all that more enjoyable.
Two Column Emily Allen

Building up the resilience to experience cold water exposure is also important, but it’s something you can get started with in the comfort of your own home.

Emily recommends turning the water temperature from warm to cold at the end of a shower, splashing your face with cold water, and placing your hands and feet into cold water and building up the time.

Cold water exposure of any kind can be great news for our physical and mental wellbeing. Emily has noticed better circulation in her hands and feet, while her mindfulness and reactivity to stress has also improved.

Being able to catch the sunrise is also a plus! “My preferred time of sea dipping is first thing in the morning. Being in the water as the sun rises is really a feast for the eyes.” Emily said.

There are lots of groups out there that you can join if you have a thirst for the water, whether that’s through immersing yourself in the sea, in a lake, or a river.

Before you dive right in. Whether you’re lacking confidence in your swimming ability or want to brush up on your technique, come to us for some lessons. It’s never too late to learn! Check out our adult lessons.

Read more blogs

Take a look at all the blogs we have for you to enjoy

Read more