Tips for warming up after sea swimming

“After drop” is common after swimming in cold water; you get out and feel fine, and then you start to get colder, sometimes growing faint, shivering violently and feeling unwell.” (Outdoor Swimming Society) 

Learning to head off the after drop is a key part of continuing to swim in cold water all year round. While in the cold water you can be lured into a false sense of security (numbness!) and stay in what turns out to be too long. With practice you learn your limitations (trial and error!)  just how cold you are going to be about 10 minutes after getting out. You then learn to moderate your swim times and get out before you feel you have to. Then the key is warming up – slowly. If you have a hot shower for example the blood can run from your core (where it is working hard to maintain your core temperature and keep you alive!) to your skin and actually make your temperature drop along with your blood pressure – potentially making you feel faint and ‘stinging’ your skin.

As you start to warm up blood starts to recirculate in your extremities and peripheral blood vessels, cooling as it travels. You can lose up to 4.5°C from your core temperature. This is where you haramaki corewarmer comes in really really handy.

swimmers in haramaki

Tips to warm up after you get out of cold water: 

  • Get dressed as soon as you can. Preferably starting with the top half of your body.  Use a haramaki. Use a robe to get dressed quicker and keep out of the wind.
  • Put on a hat and gloves and have some tea from a flask you brought with you!
  • Put on lots of layers. Haramaki, gloves, hat, thermals.
  • Sip a warm drink: this helps warm the body gently from the inside.
  • Eat something: sugar will help raise body temperature so have some cake!
  • Sit in a warm environment: chance for more tea and more cake with your fellow swimmers….
  • Walk around to generate body heat. It can take some time to warm properly. Running up and down the beach while waiting for your friends-who-faff can help.

For more information about acclimatising to cold water, the benefits and the risks go to the Outdoor Swimming Society 

If you have any good tips please add in the comments 🙂

What is a haramaki?

Hara (belly) Maki (wrap) – the idea comes from Japan, ours are made in the UK. A tube of soft, stretchy cotton that you pull on up to your middle. For all ages and unisex.

A haramaki is effectively a scarf  for your middle – you wear it under your clothes and it keeps the area warm. By wearing a haramaki around your middle you can keep your feet and hands warm – really! While I am sitting typing this my feet were feeling cold. Haramaki on and 20 minutes later I my toes are ok! It appears that when your internal organs and core are warm your body can afford to divert blood to your extremities. It’s also very good at creating comforting warm feelings should you be having period pains, back ache, kidney issues etc.

In Japan people wear Haramaki for a slightly different reason. Japanese tradition has it that if the temperature of the stomach is too cool your system will be out of balance and you will be more prone to get ill. This is based on Traditional Chinese Medicine. TCM holds that if your middle is cold kidney energy will drain from the system – and this not only puts you at risk of urinary health issues, it also lowers energy and vitality. Try one and see for yourself! 

Autumn is here – wrap your core

The temperature has dropped. You still want to get outside in the sunshine and enjoy being outside. Or you are reluctant to put on the heating and are getting cold sitting at your desk. Put on a haramaki – stretchy cotton ‘belly-wrap’ and keep yourself warm from your core to your extremities. The extra layer round your middle will help keep your whole body warmer. It keeps you snug and warm where you need it most. Like a scarf for your middle….

haramaki joy jump
Keeping Beach Bums Warm