From restoring balance to stealing some me-time and being at one with nature – isn’t it time you experienced the well-being benefits of a moonlit outdoor swim?
Aside from the odd dip in a hotel swimming pool on holiday after dark, few of us can say that we’ve experienced a true outdoor night swim. Getting into open water at twilight, in an outdoor setting, might feel like a step too far out of your comfort zone. But if you take the plunge, the positive effects on your well-being can be immense.
We caught up with Stephanie, a lover of an evening swim in the great outdoors, to find out why she enjoys it, how to overcome those freak-out moments, and why you should think about giving open water night swimming a go too.
Nothing rivals a moonlit open water swim
I feel completely free when I’m swimming outside; there is a real primeval peace to be found in moving through open water. It forces me to relax my mind, focus on my body and concentrate on my breathing. It also stretches me to my limits – it’s so different to swimming in a pool, as you have to contend with a totally different set of physical challenges, like waves, tides, currents and weeds. However on the plus side, you do get to experience some wonderful, wild and natural places.
It helps build inner and outer strength
Not only is it lots of fun finding new places to explore with my swim friends, there’s a real thrill in exploring nature and landscapes from a completely different perspective. It’s sometimes tough to be in the ‘unknown’, and everyone has their freak-out moments when they imagine sharks or snakes underneath you, so conquering that block is a real challenge! My husband and I both swim through the winter in open water, without a wetsuit, so mentally conquering the cold and getting into an icy lake can be a challenge, but it’s such an adrenaline rush and it makes you feel like a rock star afterwards!
It’s my own personal escape
As a busy mum to a one and three-year-old, it’s one of the only times in the week no one is calling me and asking me to do something for them, so it feels like a real treat! It’s the one hour in the week when I can just be Stephanie, rather than being a mamma / wife / civil servant / sister and more. I try to use my swim session to relax my mind, re-connect with my body and get used to feeling like ‘me’ again. If you’re on your own, it’s lovely to just be able to hear your own thoughts.
Night swims help me feel strong and reenergised
Swimming outdoors has definitely given me more strength and stamina for the other things I do, like yoga. Returning to the ‘moment’ you have when you first submerge in the water is also a great meditation exercise and ensures there are moments of calm in my crazy ‘working mum’ week. I’d definitely encourage every woman to try and find the time to swim – despite all the obvious health benefits and the fact it gives you such a good all over workout, the way it re-balances your mind and emotions is like nothing else! Plus the great thing about swimming is that it doesn’t matter what size you are or how unfit, everyone can do it.
SPEEDO SCULPTURE – MY OUTDOOR SWIMMING MUST-HAVE
I love wearing my Speedo Sculpture swimsuit for my outdoor evening swims. The fabric feels so supportive without being restrictive at all, and I love the flattering neckline – I feel really sexy in it (definitely a bonus when you’ve had two kids!) I love the range of really modern colors too. If you’re looking for a ‘first’ swimsuit again, definitely try a Sculpture one. As anyone who exercises knows, if you feel good about what you’re wearing, you’ll train so much better!
THE SCIENCE BEHIND MOONLIGHT’S MAGIC
A night swim isn’t just therapy for the soul. Although 4.5 billion years old and 252,000 miles away, the Moon can affect our moods and even our sleep patterns. Interestingly, the Moon and Water also have a very special link – the high and low tides of our oceans are directly affected by the Moon’s gravitational pull. Swimming, particularly in the evening as the Moon’s natural cycle revolves, is the perfect activity to interlink mood enhancing movement with the soothing effect of the water.
“My favorite time to swim is at dusk, when the sun is setting. It’s a calm, quiet time in nature and everything seems to slow down,” says Stephanie. “As the night approaches, you can’t see much, other than the moonlight, so your other senses take over and you can hear, smell and feel so much more.”