• Jonathan Shiek

There Are People Who Enjoy Outdoor Ice Bathing In 0.8c Water

An Introduction To The Ice Mile:

Pauline Barker is an ambassador for the International Ice Swimming Association. In 2015 she became the first woman in the world to have completed three ice miles, a total she has now brought up to six ice miles. She is also the only person in the world to have completed an Ice Mile. Here she introduces the ‘ice mile’ with some tips on it’s appeal and how to get started:

What Is An Ice Mile

An ice mile is a one-mile swim under International Ice Swimming Association rules in water temperature of 5 degrees Celsius or less wearing just a standard costume, goggles and one swim hat.

‘I want to do an ice mile, how do I train for it?’

Image: The OSS

Take your time and train steadily over several seasons of winter swimming in order to prepare your body for one of the toughest swims on the planet. An ice mile is not to be taken lightly – it carries the same risks as other extreme sports and can be very dangerous if you are unprepared. Each individual reacts differently to the strain of cold water immersion but it is recommended that a doctor’s check-up, with an emphasis on heart and blood pressure, is carried out before taking up cold water swimming. A recent (within three months) ECG is mandatory under International Ice Swimming Association rules for any Ice Mile attempt.

Just Keep Swimming

A method used to train for Ice Miles is to ‘just keep swimming.’ That means swimming outdoors all year round. Make sure you swim in fresh water at least once a week. Freshwater cools down much quicker than the sea and will end up colder.

Don’t Wet The Head

When you first get into cold water you will probably experience ‘cold shock response.’ The first component of cold shock response is an automatic gasp reflex. If the head is underwater, water may be breathed into the lungs, resulting in drowning. It is therefore not recommended to jump or dive in.

A much safer option is a controlled entry to the water. This can be a steady walk in from the shallows or a ‘1, 2, 3 – dunk’ to immerse yourself from waist to shoulder height. Splashing cold water on the back of your neck or face as you enter can help your body to prepare for what it is about to experience.

If you start to feel happy and warm get out of the water immediately, it’s the first signs of hypothermia. 

Your hands and feet will become cold as your body restricts the blood flow to your extremities in order to protect your core and insulate your vital organs. As your body no longer wants to pump blood to the extremities, blood pressure is affected and breathing can slow as less oxygen is needed. If you start to feel happy and warm get out of the water immediately as this is one of the first signs of hypothermia.

About The Outdoor Swimming Society:

The Outdoor Swimming Society (The OSS) was established in 2006 to pioneer outdoor swimming in rivers, lakes, lido and seas. Read more about them here.

There are many platforms where The OSS members connect: The Outdoor Swimming Society website, a Facebook page, a Facebook group, Instagram, Twitter, and (a free crowdsourced worldwide swim map).

#iceswimming #outdoorswimming #winterswimming

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