The healing properties of water have long been recognised by humans since ancient times. During the Iron age in England the waters edge was a magical place, rituals would take place and offerings left at the magical veil between the two worlds of earth and water.
Its not hard to see why, water is life. Water is powerful, strong, yet soft and nurturing. Have you ever watched a baby submerge their hand in running water? They are in the moment, sheer joy and mysticism!
There are many wonderful benefits to being in and around water. Wild swimming is just one of these ways that we love as a family.
Swimming is the perfect all round exercise that builds endurance, muscle tone, core strength and gets your heart pumping for a cardiovascular workout without putting any impact stress on your body.
Being in water has a calming and meditative effect on the brain, background noise is reduced as you enjoy the effects of weightlessness, floating in the water.
Modern day swimming pools are full of hidden nasties and toxic chemicals such as Chlorine. “Chlorine is a poison, which effects every system in the body, particularly the immune system and the liver. It absorbs quite well through the skin but chlorinated pools also gives off a layer of gas that sits on the surface of the water which children and adults inhale as they swim. Inhaled chlorine absorbs extremely well through the lungs into the bloodstream” – Dr. N Campbell-McBride (the amazing GAPs Natural Treatment Book).
Wild swimming in a river, lake or at the ocean offers all the benefits of the swimming pool with less worry about the toxins entering our body.
Submerging our body in cold water also shocks our whole system into the ‘fight or flight’ mode, which is actually really beneficial. The parasympathetic nervous system kicks into gear and draws all of the blood away from the surface of the skin and pumps it to your internal organs. This surge in blood has a flushing through effect of your whole body as the heart draws more powerful and deeper breaths from the lungs to pump the blood. Notice the gasp when your body hits the water?
The cycle is repeated as you relax; fresh oxygenated blood is pumped back out to your extremeties. Waste products and toxins that may have been lingering around the in cells of your body are pumped back to your heart and lymphatic system.
So whilst you are doing all that lovely exercise moving your body through the water, your internal organs and cells are compounding these health benefits whilst getting a good detox all at the same time.
Swimming in nature is free, it gets you out appreciating the wonders of our natural world, taking fresh air deep into your lungs and the perfect excuse for a riverside picnic or BBQ with friends, after your workout.
What is not to love about that? Get your goggles packed, swimsuit optional, depending how brave you are feeling!