Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Cold Water Swimming Misogi Guidelines

As the lake water begins to warm, now at 50 degrees, I regret the loss of the benefits at lower temperatures.  But it occurs to me I may have encouraged people to do something rash, like take a dip unprepared.  So let me say this:

1. I started in July and kept going.  So I chased the temperatures down from the 70s to the 40s.  That is easing on in.  Yes, much of the exercise is in the mind, and you simply ignore the cold.  But I read stories of people who jump into water no colder (in this case to save some kids) and drown in the process.  It can be that disorienting if you are not accustomed.  If you want in, ease in.

2.  What shape are you in?  Sure, check in with your doctor.  The real work is swimming like hell to keep warm in the water, so this is a heart-pumping thing.  How is your ticker?

3.  My fingers got real cold, maybe even chilblains.  I was going to by wetsuit gloves, but simply began to swim with my fingers held together.  Problem solved.

4. After swimming, don't warm up from the outside, like a hot shower.  The pain will be excruciating, perhaps even physically damaging.  Take hot tea or brandy, and blankets if you start to chill.

And again, to be clear, no wetsuit or dry suit involved in this, straight summer swimming trunks.  Swimming, diving in, under water, etc.  The colder the water the shorter the swim, but swim it is...

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