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The Winter Swimming Forgotten Tool, The wet stuff


the importance of hydration often takes a backseat for a lot of people but not on purpose for most.

However, the relationship between hydration and our body's thermal regulation in water is a critical factor that can significantly affect our ability to rewarm, adapt, signal and more.


In this blog, im going into the reasons why staying hydrated is super doopa paramount for maintaining an efficient thermal balance for winter swimming and how dehydration can impede the rewarming process and more.


I get alot of people asking me about why is it I took ages to re-warm today ?

Majority of the time its to do with the small but big factors,

Think - F. R. E. S. H

winter swimming and hydration
GB Ice Viking / Fenwick Ridley

awareness

FOOD / REST / EXPOSURE / STRESS / HYDRATION


Food- being aware of the need in fuel to burn, as we burn so much during and after.


Hydration - The ultimate tool to so much of the whole process including strength in thermal regulation.


Sleep - we need to be on good form/alertness and ready for the mammoth of energy used.


Stress - being aware that if you have been somewhat stressed it will impact your energy for all the processes


It's all energy


So if energy or fuel or hydration is down, you can be sure to be told by the cold.

As it requires levels to be fairly good.


OK lets focus a little more on Hydration for now.


Thermal Regulation in Cold Water:

*A Delicate Balance*

Our bodies are finely tuned machines, constantly striving to maintain an internal temperature within a narrow range for optimal function. When immersed in water, the challenges to this thermal balance increase, as water conducts heat more efficiently than air. To counteract this, our bodies engage in complex thermoregulatory processes to preserve heat, and hydration plays a key role in supporting these mechanisms.


The Role of Hydration in Thermal Regulation: A Deeper Dive

Sweating and Evaporation:

  • Hydration facilitates the body's ability to sweat, a crucial mechanism for cooling down during physical exertion, including water activities.

  • Sweating in water relies on the evaporation of sweat from the skin's surface. Proper hydration ensures an adequate supply of sweat to enhance this cooling process.


Blood Circulation and Heat Distribution:

  • Dehydration leads to a decrease in blood volume, affecting the body's ability to circulate blood efficiently.

  • Efficient blood circulation is vital for distributing heat throughout the body, especially in water where the thermal gradient is more pronounced.

  • we basically have a large change in blood pressure and being hydrated is one of the main tools to allow this to work


Metabolic Rate and Energy Expenditure:

  • Hydrated individuals maintain a more stable metabolic rate, which influences the body's heat production.

  • Adequate hydration supports the body's energy expenditure, contributing to maintaining a balanced internal temperature.



The Link Between Hydration and Rewarming: Unveiling the Effects of Dehydration


Slower Rewarming:

  • Dehydration hampers the body's ability to generate and retain heat, leading to a slower rewarming process.

  • In colder water, this delay in rewarming can increase the risk of hypothermia and other cold-related conditions.


Increased Vulnerability to Cold Stress:

  • Dehydrated individuals are more susceptible to cold stress, as the body struggles to conserve and distribute heat effectively.

  • Prolonged exposure to cold water without adequate hydration can result in a compromised rewarming response.


Think of how you cool and how the body continues to cool when we exit the water and then as we manage our selves properly and wrap up after drying the skin we start curve up on a scale just like the letter U, COOLING then that change in temp is that curve at the bottom. BUT if someone is lacking fuel or low on hydration that curve becomes wider.



Practical Tips for Staying Hydrated in Water:

  1. Pre-Hydration:

    • Ensure you are adequately hydrated before engaging in water activities.

    • This is best to get on to of 2 days prior

  2. Regular Fluid Intake:

    • Consume fluids regularly, even if you may not feel thirsty while in water.

  3. Rehydration Post-Activity:

    • Replenish fluids lost during water activities through post-activity rehydration.


BUT - Also remember that we need to look at replenishing the correct salts also (electrolytes)

Maybe another blog on the salts and effects but also the differences of juice and good drinks to help hydration ?


Take away tip - coconut water is amazing for hydration (one of the best)



So, the next time you embrace the water, remember that staying hydrated isn't just about quenching your thirst—it's about safeguarding your body's intricate balance in the aquatic realm.

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