Sea Swimming

Sea swimming is one of those things that is supposed to be very good for you but I have never really done – like eating kale or Pilates. I’ve always been far too scared of the cold sea. But sea swimming really is supposed to be very good for us and living in Brighton and Hove provides such a fantastic opportunity to do so. 

For centuries, it’s been believed that the sea has positive mental and physical effects on the human body. But recently, health professionals are beginning to embrace this idea. There’s plenty of science behind it – cold water immersion releases endorphins, serotine and dopamine. Saltwater contains magnesium, which is thought to help release stress. The cold water increases circulation and boosts energy levels. 

Fortunately, there are plenty of people who are not as scared as I am! Sea swimming is growing in popularity, with more and more of us braving the waters and enjoying the benefits. Claudine Rane is one of them.

I‘ve always loved the sea. Sitting by it, looking at it, listening to it and paddling in it.  It’s always been my therapy.  One spring day I saw some swimmers come out of a very chilly sea, and something about them intrigued me.  Perhaps I noticed their glow and grins as they emerged.  

I walked over to chat to them.  I said wistfully, “I wish I could do that,” and they all looked at me and said: “why can’t you?”  “Good question,” I thought. It just hadn’t occurred to me that it was possible – for me.  

So I went in the freezing April sea, in a swimsuit and shoes, and I felt the incredible buzz.  I was hooked!  It was utterly joyous!  I have just swum my fourth winter, and it is now definitely ‘my thing.’

I swim because it gives me freedom from my every-day stresses. The cold water gives my vagus nerve a boost which helps my nervous system settle, like a reset.  I swim because it gets me into nature and I am in awe of the sea in all weathers, and because I have found an incredible tribe of supportive, kind, funny friends.  

I swim because the positive impact it has had on my body image has been profound.  I now appreciate what my body can do, how it can get in cold water, dive through waves and swim for miles.  I no longer worry about the wobbly bits or spend all my time trying to shrink them.  

I am now a Body Image and Blue Health coach, helping women make peace with their bodies and discover their true worth, value and confidence.  And I help them get in the sea if they, like old me, wish that they could. 

Steven Graham
Author: Steven Graham

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