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How To Stay Warm In Cold Water Without A Wetsuit

How To Stay Warm In Cold Water Without A Wetsuit

Swimming is a fun activity, sometimes referred to as a recreational sport, and an exercise, it is also called a survival method it all depends on the occasion or reason for taking a swim. 

As a swimmer you would want to swim in relatively warm waters cause its comfortable and easier to swim in, but some occasions and training call for you to swim in colder waters.

The easiest option to keep yourself warm while in cold water would be a wetsuit, but in some cases, you might find yourself needing to swim in cold water without a wetsuit.

It is best to learn certain techniques to keep yourself warm in such cold conditions.


To keep warm in cold water is to conserve body heat, and this can be a life-saving measure in certain situations.

1. Stay Submerged Completely

You might be wondering how this Helps to retain body heat in cold water, if you notice that when cold water gets on your skin you feel the cold more when the water evaporates.

So when you stay submerged the water does not get the chance to evaporate and this way your body keeps its body heat and does not allow any to escape, so keep most of your body in the water as best you can.

2. Keep Moving

This is important because whenever the human body moves the muscles of the body produce heat to warm up the body, this is why we sweat when we walk or run because the body is producing heat as our body moves. 

So as soon as you get into the cold water start moving your body, this prevents your heart rate from slowing down and your blood from cooling. 

Once you stop moving it becomes difficult to start moving again, so it is best you move your legs and hands as much as possible as soon as you get in the cold water.

3. Using Animal Fat

This particular technique is really old but still very effective and swimmers in recent years still make use of it. 

When you lather your body with animal fat before you get in the water, it provides an extra layer that keeps your skin from coming in direct contact with the water. 

This technique was created to provide swimmers with the type of warmth marine mammals get from their blubber.

The effect of this technique lasts for a long while keeping you warm because water and fat/oil do not mix at least not easily. 

If you can not find animal fat easily Vaseline would do the work almost as effectively as animal fat.

More Tips For In And Out Of Water

All the ways I have mentioned to help you keep warm in cold water become ineffective if you are unable to get in and out of water properly. 

Learning how to get in and out of cold water is very important. 

Do not dive into the cold water as this activates cold shock, it might constrict your lungs and you would find yourself gasping for air uncontrollably. 

The best way is to take your time to get into the water, focus on your breathing and exhale as you enter your head into the water to prevent yourself from gasping from the chilled temperature of the water.

After getting out of the water, remember to not rush yourself to warm up and do it slowly. 

This is best done with a cup of hot beverage and a warm blanket, remember don’t change whatever you’re putting on until your body has relaxed a bit from the cold temperature!

Further Reading:

Can A Wetsuit Be Too Warm?

Is It Bad To Pee In A Wetsuit?

How To Loosen Up A Stiff Wetsuit (Easy Tips)

Can Jellyfish Sting Through A Wetsuit?

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