Open water swimming is where you take a dip in outdoor bodies of water. These include lakes, rivers, oceans and seas.
There are lots of advantages to open water swimming, and therefore reasons why you might want to give it a go yourself. For example, open water swimming allows you to swim for longer, uninterrupted distances and thus develop your stroke and endurance. There are also the water currents to consider. As a result of the moving water, your muscles must work harder to keep moving in the right direction in open water, and so you become more physically fit. Benefits aside though, there are also some dangers to be aware of when open water swimming. Here are a few tips to ensure you get the most out of it…
Be natural and simple
It is important that an open water swimmer take it easy as they swim since they may not be able to predict what can happen. It is important to swim with a lifeguard watching over you who may help if you encounter a problem. It is advisable also to swim in calmer waters and to swim parallel to the shore.
Know what creatures lurk beneath
It is important to analyze the water before taking a swim by determining the marine creatures that may be dangerous to you. These include sharks, scorpions, crocodiles and jellyfish that may harm you once you meet them. Apart from this, microscopic creatures such as bacteria may be harmful and thus it is good to know the water safety before having a swim.
Monitor the weather
Finding out local weather and the way it affects the water conditions is smart. For example, wind can create water currents that may be dangerous while water runoff may carry lots of bacteria and affect water cleanliness.
Monitor the water current direction and speed
Understanding the water current may help you in determining the safety of water, swiftly moving water can pull you astray. If you do not understand how currents and rip tides work, it is important to ask someone in the know, since some water current may change their direction hourly.
Do not swim alone
It is never a good idea to go swimming alone, and especially not in open water. It is important to be accompanied by a fellow swimmer who may help you if disaster strikes. Apart from your fellow swimmer, it is advisable to carry out your swimming activities under the watch of a lifeguard who can reach you if you get into trouble.
Check the water temperature
It is important to analyze the water temperature as having a swim in freezing water may cause hypothermia and affect your physiological body processes. Most water bodies around the world has a temperature of 78 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit which is suitable for swimming.
Have a plan
You should determine whether you’ll be swimming from one place to another or if it’s an out-and-back kind of adventure. Furthermore, you need to determine the swimming route and familiarize yourself with water conditions.
Photo by Storm Crypt on Flickr.