Lifestyle, Mental Health, wellness

Why swim in cold water?

Swimming in cold water may not appeal to many, but it could be the key to your physical and mental health this season.

I have always loved the ocean, and will happily swim in any weather, but it wasn’t until recently that I realised the tremendous health benefits it offers. Here I share some of the many reasons why we swim in cold water and why you should too.

It can boost your immune system

When we swim in cold water our body is forced to react to the changing condition and it fires up our sympathetic nervous system to protect us. This voluntary action can, when repeated over time, help our body to activate its defences faster.

It can improve circulation

When we swim in cold water our heart has to work harder to force the blood to our extremities to keep us moving and keep us warm. As it does this, it flushes your veins, arteries, and capillaries and aids the lymphatic system in expelling toxins from our body.

It can reduce inflammation

Swimming has long be known as a superb low impact exercise for our joints, but cold water swimming can go one step further. As adrenaline and endorphins are released, this can soothe or even stop joint pain and reduce inflammation over time.

It can support and sustain mental health

Cold water swimming is by no means a cure for any condition, however our body released endorphins when in the water which gives us a natural high. This study in the British Medical Journal on a 24-year-old woman shows its effects. She had been treated for symptoms of a major depressive disorder and anxiety since the age of 17, but wanted to live medication and symptom free after the birth of her daughter. She began open water swimming each week and this led to an immediate improvement in mood following each swim and gradual reduction in symptoms of depression. A year later she was medication free.

How to swim safe

Cold water swimming is a euphoric experience, but it can be dangerous too. These are some important safety tips from the Outdoor Swimming Society:

  • Never swim alone
  • Never go out of your depth
  • Keep immersions brief – a few minutes is all you need
  • Warm up when you get out with layers, hats, gloves and a warm drink
  • Have something to eat to rasie your blood sugar
  • Walk around to raise your body temperature
  • Never have a hot shower straight after as the sudden change in blood flow can cause you to pass out.

As with any exercise, cold water immersion affects your blood pressure, heart rate, and circulation, which means it can cause serious cardiac stress. If you have a heart condition or any underlying health condition, please discuss the risks with your doctor first.

Join a cold water swim

Each month Mental Health Swims hosts cold water swim meets up and down the country. I host one here in Aberavon, Port Talbot and you would be so welcome to join us! Details can be found here. Alternatively, check out the Outdoor Swimming Society for other meets.

Happy swimming!

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Essential Oils, Faith, Lifestyle

The Secrets Of the Trees

I simply adore trees. I grew up climbing them, swinging on tyres in them, sitting under them and more. As a thirty something mom I love nothing more than finding shade in their boughs while watching my kiddos explore fallen trunks and exposed roots.

We can find refuge in nature. Better still, I love being barefoot outdoors, it somehow makes me feel more connected to God.  Staring up at the leafy canopy over head grounds me somehow. I feel like I can finally breathe deeper and think clearer. I find myself thinking ‘if only the trees could talk…’ and always feel like they have stories to tell, secrets to share. They know the Creator they are connected to, the power of nature. They beg us to come close, examine their bark, lounge in their branches, eat of their fruits.

Trees are so much more than just an element of nature.

They are part of an orderly universe, with a role to play in our health and well being. The problem is that this role has been overlooked for too long. We need trees and they need us. What is the first thing we do as a living creature? We breathe. What do we breathe? Oxygen. Where does it come from? Trees. More than that, the carbon dioxide we breathe is out is the very substance plants need to complete photosynthesis.

The earth is not a product of a collision of atoms,
it is the creation of an orderly world.

God created the world, and all living things in it. He created us out of the earth, so it makes sense that being surrounded by nature and connected to the earth should be a positive experience for us.

Since the world began, we have walked, worked, sat and slept on the ground and our bodies have connected with the earth. Nowadays we are so disconnected. We have plastics on our feet that insulate us. We are constantly bombarded by pollution from cars, aviation and industry, and by electromagnetic radiation from appliances, radio masts, Wi-Fi and even the device you are reading this blog from. The free radicals in radiation and the pollution in our environment causes untold damage to our bodies.

How can the trees and the earth help? Trees purify our air, absorbing greenhouse gases and replacing carbon dioxide with oxygen. Their leaves, fruits, sap and resins can be harnessed and distilled into essential oils to support whole body health and wellness. The Earth’s own magnetic field, which releases free electrons helps to eliminate free radicals in our bodies. Trees and plants are connected to the earth, and are essentially conductors to the Earth’s magnetic field.

This whole topic fascinates me, and leaves me ever more in awe of my amazing God. If you want to know more about how the trees and the earth’s energy can support your own health and wellness then check out the movie The Grounded on YouTube and these resources:

https://www.earthing.com/

https://gardencollage.com/heal/mind-spirit/real-healing-power-trees/

https://www.youngliving.com/blog/the-11-most-popular-essential-oils-and-their-superpowers/

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