Tap Into Health: Tips for Winter Swimming

The days are getting shorter, and the temps are getting chillier, but we are still seeing a ton of lap swimmers at Old Town Hot Springs. Why? The natural heat of the Heart Spring feeds our lap pool and keeps it a delightful 80 (ish) degrees throughout winter. Where else can you swim outside while it’s snowing?

Swimming is a fantastic, full-body workout that is easy on your joints. It’s also a great bang for your buck as it combines cardio, stretching and strength into every lap. Every muscle is engaged, and while the buoyancy of the water helps support your joints and bones, the water also creates 360-degree pressure on your muscles, resulting in a highly efficient exercise.

If you haven’t incorporated swimming into your routine, give it a try. Even though we are heading into winter, it’s still an excellent time to start. Please don’t fret about the temps; we’ve compiled tips on how to embrace swimming this winter from some of our members and staff.

Come prepared:

• If you are coming to the pool a lot, invest in a swim parka. Swim parkas are usually waterproof, so they are great for snowy days and fleece-lined to keep in the warmth of your body. They run to about your knees to keep you covered up after your swim.

• Don’t want to walk on snow or ice barefoot or hassle with snow boots while by the pool? Bring slip-on sandals for getting to and from the pool. Make sure that they are non-slip.

• Bring two big towels to dry off with after your swim — one for your hair and one for your body.

• Wear a swim cap on your head. Our head is the biggest emitter of heat on our body, so keep that heat in.

Just jump in:

• You will be fine once you are in the 80-degree pool, but sometimes taking that first plunge is hard. The longer you think about getting into the water, the harder it is. So, take the plunge and go.

• Bring a friend and force each other to hop in. In this case, peer pressure is a good thing.

• Start with a solid warm-up to get your body heated up fast.

• Wait until your body is warm before using a kickboard since this will expose your back to the cold air.

• Take a 5-10-minute sauna before heading outside to make the cold more manageable. You will get so hot that your body will relish the cold. Avoid soaking in the hot pools before swimming as being wholly wet and moving from pool to pool is rarely enjoyable.

Give yourself a high five:

• Once you finish your swim, head over to the jets in lane one as they are pumping out warm water.

• Make sure to go for a dip in the hot pools after to warm up and relax. You deserve it.

In Scandinavia, locals purposefully go swimming in the freezing waters and then hop in a sauna or a hot tub. The tingly sensations experienced from warming your body up after an icy dip are sought after, and some say that it’s the result of your body releasing endorphins. Next time, you need a boost, linger outside for a while and then enjoy the warm waters of the Heart Spring.

Vanessa Corey is the marketing director at Old Town Hot Springs.

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