You, Menopause and I - Benefits of Wild Water Swimming
Updated: Nov 4
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. - Albert Einstein
What has wild water swimming got to do with menopause?
I would like to share with you that I have recently been introduced to wild and cold water swimming. When I first did it, it was in the sea in October, and I thought to myself, what in the world am I doing? I am not going to lie, it was absolutely freezing but once you went past the numbness, yes the numbness, I felt amazing. I noticed that I had more energy for the rest of the day than I had in ages, aches and pains were reduced and I felt good. Because I practice been consciously aware of how I am, I was curious about the impact of wild and cold water swimming was having on me and read more around it.
So what are the benefits?
Reduce the fight or flight response
Reduce inflammation / aches and pains
Reduce chronic pain
Improve healthy living
Increase social support
Improve immune system response
Increase lymphatic drainage
Increase Vitamin D
How does wild / cold water swimming improve my wellbeing?
During perimenopause as a result of oestrogen and progesterone depleting so does serotonin and testosterone. Serotonin is required for our mood. Low serotonin equals low mood. Because the emotional part of our brain is located next to pain receptors, it makes sense that if we are in a constant low mood, we also feel pain more. In addition, testosterone is needed for motivation, muscle and joints, and, libido. It is argued through anecdotal evidence that wild / cold water swimming releases white blood cells which are beneficial to boosting our immune system and are anti-inflammatory. Furthermore, immersing in cold water could release serotonin and testosterone, therefore:
improving low mood
improving aches and pains
Consequently, being part of a community increases your social support, and could release another hormone, oxytocin, also known as the love hormone. It's released when we have babies which helps us to bond and attach to our babies, when we fall in love and in our social support groups.
Practicing breathing exercises really come into its own too. By breathing through the coldness, it could be argued that you are managing the fight or flight response. It also makes sense that the more you practice this, you are more likely to automatically use it when you are in a tricky situation and want to respond rather than react to different situations.
Moreover, just the fact you have done something challenging can be a reward in itself.
So it's a cure for all my menopausal symptoms?
In a word, no. However, it's about experimenting what works for you and being consciously aware of how you are. It's another tool that can be added to your resource box to have a healthy, better version of you.
You should always consult with your GP before doing any new exercise regime or if you have underlying health conditions.
How can coaching help?
Coaching can facilitate you in creating an action plan. For example, I am not a strong swimmer so I can't do it. It's about changing your mindset to that you can't strongly swim yet. It's about accessing your thoughts and clarifying what you want to do to become unstuck. It's about making informed choices including not doing anything.
Well, after writing this blog my next step is to book swimming lessons so I can become a strong swimmer.
Take care, Paula
Read my blog on You, Menopause and I