Fancy swapping a pool for a river or lake for your swimming fix?
Wild swimming seems to have become a popular choice of late, and it's no surprise considering the fantastic health benefits people can get from this type of swimming, such as a boosted immune system, improved recovery time with less muscle soreness, reduced inflammation, and reduced stress hormone levels.
If you're keen to give this type of swimming a go, follow these top tips from Ali Phillips, wild swimming instructor for Armathwaite Hall Hotel & Spa in the Lake District:
Swimming with a tow float can be a great way to keep yourself safe. Not only can you be seen whilst out swimming by anyone watching, but it also helps other water users see you too, to avoid a collision with a paddleboard, canoe or another swimmer. Some events and swimming locations will require you to have one. A bright swim hat or funky bobble hat can be another option too!
Go with a friend
Swimming is a social sport and going with a friend can make it much more enjoyable. If you can't persuade someone to come in the water with you then a friend who is willing to come and watch means you aren't on your own and have someone spotting you just in case.
Know your spot
Before you get in any water, go onto Google and do a bit of research about what it's like from conditions, any warnings etc. Facebook is another great option for this too. Whilst you're new, try somewhere popular where people swim regularly in your area.
Bring warm clothes
Don't underestimate how cold you can get after you get out. Your internal body temperature continues to drop after you get out of the water so bring your warm jackets, woolly hats and flask.
Book a guide
If you're unsure or want a great introduction to wild swimming then book a guide local to you. You'll get so much information and be able to ask as many questions as you want. Check Instagram and Facebook to see if there's any local to you. There is a lot to consider before you take your first plunge, from weather, river flow, wildlife, access and much more - so make sure you do your research! The Outdoor Swimming Society is a great resource for information.
Armathwaite Hall is currently offering a half-day wild swimming session with Ali which explores the silky smooth water of Bassenthwaite Lake, along with other secret locations.