Have you resolved to travel more and to focus more on your health? You can do both by taking a holiday where you can practice the latest activity touted to benefit your mental and physical health. ‘Wild swimming’ is swimming in the open water, whether river, lake or the sea – regardless of the temperature. Swimming with the snow and ice is encouraged!
If you haven’t yet heard of the ‘wild swimming’ trend, you may be scratching your head. Isn’t ‘wild swimming’ what lots of us used to just call ‘swimming?’
Yes, but as life got ever more urban and more hotels and resorts around the world invested in more eye-catching pools with amenities like bars, pool concierges, infinity views and over-water lounge chairs… swimming in nature took an, er, dip in popularity.
Rediscovered and now dubbed ‘wild swimming,’ it’s in the same category of returning to nature and rediscovering the simple pleasures of the outdoors as the Japanese practice of ‘forest bathing’ that’s also a favorite of wellness fans.
Advocates for ‘wild swimming’ point out we should be returning to the waves and reaping some of the same mental and physical benefits as forest bathing on land.
In addition to just getting outdoors into the beauty of nature, a dip into a wild body of water, depending on whether it’s braving cold waves or a warm dip, is said to boost your mood, circulation, your body’s immunity and ability to recover and heal from injury and illness – plus it can reduce stress and high blood pressure.
And, on a spiritual level, unlike a man-made container of water, swimming in the sea lets you feel part of a body of water that’s connected with every other ocean around the world.
If you do opt into immersing yourself in quite cold sea water, there are some added benefits: it shocks your circulatory system into overdrive, and your blood flowing faster helps your inner organs, reduces muscle and joint pain and overall aches – even help with migraines.
Some Like it Hot:
On the flip side, warm water can be more relaxing, allowing you to slow down and take the time to reset with nature.
No matter where you’re swimming, be safe! Practice the buddy system, check for local conditions and water safety factors – things like currents - don’t swim in waters beyond your skill level, and don’t try to stay in cold water, for example, for too long and risk hypothermia. You should also confirm the health of the water before you take the plunge – avoid water with issues like pollution (ensuring you’re jumping into healthy water applies to man-made water sources, too, like pools and hot tubs.) Booking your wild swimming experience or vacation through a reputable provider is a smart move.
Where the Wild Swimmers Are:
So on-trend is ‘wild swimming,’ the new Anantara The Marker Hotel in Dublin has developed a new program to connect its guests in Ireland’s capital with the country’s rocky, wild shores of the Irish Sea as a form of exploration and therapy.
Its new ‘Wild Swimming’ experience is led by its in-house Wild Swimming Guru, and lets guests explore hidden beaches and off-the-beaten path beauty spots while engaging in a pastime that’s gained renewed interest in Ireland.
With multiple ‘wild swimming’ locations to choose from, guests are taken by private car by the hotel’s Wild Swimming Guru on a 2-hour swimming safari with views of Ireland’s cliffs, kelp forests and picturesque coast. After your restorative, rejuvenating dip, you are met with restorative flasks of hot drinks including the option for a quintessential Irish Coffee and wrapped in snuggly dry robes by a local maker.
Swimmers can opt to picnic and swim either at Vico Bathing Place where you can float under the craggy rocks of Hawk Cliff as porpoises peek above the swell; the iconic Forty Foot in Sandycove that featured in the opening scenes of James Joyce's Ulysses and hosts an icy Christmas morning swim; or White Rock – a sugary-white sandy beach offering safe bathing for families who can be seen swimming among diving terns and cormorants.
Invigorated, you can extend your wellness experience at The Marker (spa indoor pool pictured, below.)
The program at the Anantara The Marker Dublin Hotel isn’t the only place you can go ‘wild swimming.’
The world is full of natural waters begging to be part of your ‘wild swimming’ wellness journey. Scandinavian countries have long promoted the virtues of spending time in seaside saunas then jumping into the icy North Sea; Mexico’s cool cenotes, or natural swimming holes, are a refreshing contrast from its tropical heat; and Japan’s onsen, or natural (sometimes, very!) hot springs, all give you very different, but uplifting immersive natural water experiences.
START YOUR WELLNESS TRIP!
Images courtesy Anantara
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