blue tits

The benefits of open water swimming with the Blue Tits

Open water swimming is getting a lot of attention for being a health and mood booster. Could you tell us a bit about the benefits, and what you think it is that makes OWS great?

Cold water dipping is indeed a huge mood booster, and we have bags of anecdotal evidence about how it has helped with various health conditions, both mental and physical. There is more research needed into the science behind this, and we know that as well as cold water there is the ‘Bluetit Effect.’

It’s difficult to separate out the cold water from Bluetitting as a whole. When you set off for a Bluetit swim, you’re getting out in nature, meeting a group of people, chatting, laughing, moving and connecting. You are then of course dipping in cold water, and when you get out you have survived! That’s when the post-dip rush kicks in. You’ve then got more chatting, tea, cake and warm up dances. It’s the whole experience of swimming with a group of incredible people that forms what we call ‘The Bluetit Effect’.

 

As with any water sport, safety is key, so could you give us some tips on how to stay safe whilst OWS?

Always swim with a group if you can, or, if you’re dipping alone, have someone on the shore looking out for you. Get to know your own body, and start with short dips within your depth. It’s great to get a handle on the process of getting dressed when you get out of cold water before you embark on your first dip. We have some great safety videos as part of our series ‘Don’t Be A Tit, Be A Bluetit!’ on our website which cover this and other top tips!

 

What are your top 3 pieces of kit you wouldn’t be without when swimming?

  1. Tow Float. Not only is it great for increasing your visibility and for a bit of security by your side, but if you get the right one, you can keep chocolate in it too!
  2. Warm layers. These are even more important than a towel in our book! Some warm clothes that are easy to pull on with cold hands post swim.
  3. Tea, cake and friends. We can’t possibly just choose one. All are essential for post swim - whether they’re warming you up, giving you energy or putting the world to rights!

 

I’m an all-weather sailor but I’d love to try mixing in some dipping when the wind’s low. How can people get involved?

First step is to find your local Bluetit flock. Head to the website, and find your nearest Bluetit pin on the map. Join the group, say hello and prepare for your first dip by watching the safety resources on the website.

 

Interviewed by Lucy Harris.

Updated on 14th July 2022

Originally published on 5th July 2022 in Swimming

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