Ocean swimming is the four-wheel drive version of lap swimming.
As a sprint swimmer, ocean swimming is actually well outside my bubble of comfort.
Swimming in a pool is comparable to driving a sports car, every movement is refined and controlled to maximise efficiency. Ocean swimming is sitting behind the wheel of a grunty four-wheel drive.
While I still adore the lane lines and calm waters of pool swimming, open water has definitely re-ignited my passion for all things aquatic.
Ocean swimming is a powerful activity, one that ignites will-power and fortifies relationships.
Training in the outdoors does much more than simply build fitness and improve strength.
Here are 3 reasons why ocean swimming is awesome:
- It builds mental fortitude
- It’s a chance to leave stresses on the shore
- To form a closer bond with others
1) Mental fortitude
It is one thing to be motivated to get to the gym, it is another to drag a damp, cold wetsuit over your skin as the rain pelts in to the sand.
Nothing builds mental fortitude like swimming when it’s cold.
When the first surge of icy water literally drags the breath from your chest and you choose to ignore that internal voice clutching at excuses.
Swimming in glassy water under the sun is incredible, but it’s the days when the sky growls, grows dark and you choose to do it anyway, which are the most memorable. When others opt for a coffee and an afternoon perched in front of the television, you choose to persevere.
It forms a foundation for tomorrow.
A work project may be put in to perspective once you have endured a swim through wind and rain that whips the water in to a frenzy around you.
2. Leave stresses on the shore
Ocean swimming is an opportunity to escape that internal chatter of stress. Whether it work, studies, kids or the news, a few minutes lost at sea can be enough to find clarity.
There’s always a moment, just before your hands slice through the water on that first duck dive when the mind is forced in to the present moment.
Next time you swim, take the time to focus on the cool water. Notice the way your body moves, feel the water press on your hands and flick from your feet.
This will help to both calm your mind and bring your attention to your technique.
3. Form a closer bond with others
Regardless of duration or intensity, heading to the sea for some exercise will often tease out some positive emotions. Open water swims are a blend of fun and challenge, they help to build relationships through shared experience.
If you’ve ever wanted to be a part of nationwide community, ocean swimming events are a great place to start, especially in New Zealand.
Whether you’re competitive at your core and chasing a win, or just wanting to finish as a new goal, the sea has space to fit every person.
So whether you’re gunning for first or just looking for a bit of added spice to your fitness routine, events will often cater to a full spectrum of abilities.
If you’re new to ocean swimming and are a little apprehensive, check out my beginners tips to ocean swimming entry.
If you wanted to join the NZ Ocean Swim family, Click Here for upcoming events.
Winter is also the best time to start improving fitness! If you’re based near Auckland’s North Shore, come and visit the National Aquatic Centre, where I take two Adult Swim Classes a week! For more information on these sessions, click here.