This year during lockdown my daughter and I finally took the plunge and began sea swimming! Wanting to focus on something new that would boost our mental and physical health and get us through the long winter months, we thought this new adventure would be a perfect fit for our lifestyle. We live right beside the sea in Cushendall, so we realised it would be a crime not to take advantage of our wonderful natural surroundings. Soon enough, we discovered that lots of people had also caught the sea swimming bug as it is a new craze with group swimming sessions taking place regularly in numerous locations around the Glens. Great minds really do think alike!
It’s true that at this time of the year the water is ice cold but you only experience this for around the first 60 – 90 seconds. Whilst in the water, your heart is pumping faster and your body is working harder to keep everything warm - this means that more calories are burnt than if swimming in warmer conditions! Let me set the scene for you: The water feels jarring and freezing at first, but this quickly turns into an addictive feeling of euphoria. Your mind focuses almost automatically on being in the moment, becoming clear and calm as you drink in the beautiful scenery. You look inland towards Glenariffe, the queen of the Glens, as all the tension in my muscles began to melt. With the majestic mountains, Lurig and Carn Neill, towering over you, it’s hard not to fall in love with the feeling.
Once you begin to feel cold again, beginning in your hands and feet, you know it is time to get out. After coming out of the water I have a surge of energy, I feel totally invigorated and that I can take on the world. The feeling is totally indescribable- another reason for you to try it for yourself! My daughter and I both agree that sleep quality has improved and there is a definite reduction of stress and anxiety. The positives really do outweigh the negatives!
We both look towards warmer days when we will be able to swim further and increase our fitness levels even more- and maybe even ditch the wetsuits!
There is a fantastic social side to the swimming, my daughter and I have met new friends whilst in the sea and are now members of the ‘Little Dippers’ Whatsapp group – there is talk of summer barbeques, swims to Red Bay Pier, paddle boarding and kayaking. I think it’s safe to say, this has been one of the positive things that have come out of lockdown – something that I can experience with my daughter and that we will definitely continue to experience together.
Sea swimming is amazing and if you haven’t tried it yet – Go on! Take the plunge!