It’s a belief that has been tightly woven into Sūndar since the very beginning; cold water swimming is like medicine. It cures, cleans and cleanses so many things, both mentally and physically. Recently, studies are proving more and more that cold water swimming can help reduce anxiety and depression, improve sleep, and even protect the brain against degenerative diseases such as dementia; as if we needed any more reasons to strip off and dive in!
You don’t need to ask us twice; Sūndar sisters love to swim. Cold water is our biggest vice, and you’ll find us slipping beneath the surface of lakes, rivers, oceans, lidos and swimming pools at any given chance. Whilst our swimwear is designed to be worn both at the beach and in the pool, there’s something magical about wild swimming that can’t quite be replicated within tiles and chlorinated water. John Muir famously and rightfully said, “In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks,” and this goes for wild swimming too. To become immersed in nature is to re-wild ourselves. Diving beneath the surface of untamed waters, surrounded by animals, insects and marine life in their natural habitat, brings us closer to the world. There aren’t many low moods that can’t be cured by sandy toes and salty hair, or footprints in the soft earth and cold, crisp water running over your skin.
Cold water swimming is good for you. Fact. It’s good on your good days, and it’s even better on your bad days. There is definitely more than enough going on in the world at the moment that to make us feel a little overwhelmed. When your mind is racing and your thoughts are tumbling over one another, there are a number of self-care measurements you can take; bring mindfulness to an everyday activity, such as drinking a tea or watching the clouds, meditate, turn off your phone and do some yoga, cook something delicious, or try our personal fave: cold water therapy. When you let cold water wash over you, be it outside in the sea, a river or a lido, or even indoors in the shower or bath, your mind will physically and thankfully not be able to think about anything else. The cold sensation that washes over you and takes your breath away also takes away the anxious thoughts. Plus, the dedication that it takes to withstand the cold water is a win! The initial discomfort can be quite tricky to handle so it's something to be proud of! By noticing your success, this ‘reward’ feeling will release dopamine in your body; a total happiness hack.
Not only is cold water swimming good for your mood, your skin and your fitness, but it’s recently been revealed that it may hold the key to curing dementia. Researchers from Cambridge University discovered that cold water swimming may protect the brain from degenerative diseases like dementia, as they found a ‘cold-shock’ protein in the blood of regular outdoor winter swimmers. The article read that “the protein has been shown to slow the onset of dementia and even repair some of the damage it causes in mice.” Obviously, sudden and lengthy exposure to cold water by someone who isn’t used to it can be dangerous, but in the right doses, it could end up being proven as a life saver. (We can highly recommend teaming our Ouse swimsuit with the Mississippi high-waisted bottoms for extra warmth!)
The physical health benefits are numerous; cold water swimming boosts your immune system, lowers stress and boosts circulation simultaneously, and salty sea air is scientifically proven to help you drift off into a deeper and richer sleep. Take a deep breath and dive in!
Whether you use these wild swims for mindfulness and happiness, or for your physical health, we ourselves never regret taking the plunge. If you’re an experienced cold water mermaid; we salute you, and if you’re a first time outdoor swimmer considering diving in; we couldn’t recommend it enough.
Some of our favourite tried + tested brands to help you on your wild swimming journey:
- Swimwear - Sundar Swim (of course)
- Goggles - Aqua Sphere (we like the Kayenne Polarised goggles)
- Swimming cap - choose a bright cap to make sure you can be easily seen; we love this orange silicone swim cap from Zone3
- Tow Float - Swim Secure have all your floating needs!
- A changing robe - look no further than the almighty dryrobe!
- A quick dry towel - well hello Dock & Bay; sustainable + sexy - right up our street!
- Menstrual cup - the OG Mooncup
THINK; DON'T SINK - be safe, be seen
Words by Lottie Lewis for Sūndar Swim