Will you swim outdoors all winter?

Her Spirit launch a challenge designed to encourage open-water swimmers to keep dipping all winter

Cold water swimmerin the water in Eidfjord, Norway. Photo by Alexander Koerner/Getty Images for Isklar Norseman Extreme Triathlon

As the temperatures start to drop, have you already hung up your wetsuit, or are you tempted to keep reaping the physical and mental benefits of open-water swimming through the off-season?

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We’ll be covering this topic in more detail in issue 384 of 220 Triathlon, (on sale 29th October) as Professor Greg Whyte shows Editor Helen Webster how to swim safely in cold water, in preparation for her taking on the Polar Bear Challenge this winter.

As entries have already closed for the Polar Bear though – and the minimum distances may be too ambitious for some winter swimmers – the team at Her Spirit were keen to offer their members a fun alternative as part of their ‘Your Best Year Yet’ initiative, which 220 are supporting.

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“There are numerous physical and mental health benefits of cold water swimming and swimming in general and our Winter Swim Challenge is designed to support and encourage you to keep swimming over the winter months,” says Mel Berry, co-founder of Her Spirit.

“The secret to acclimatising to cold water is just to swim in it, often – at least once a week, and preferably two or three, gradually extending the time that you stay in the water. Our challenge isn’t about how long or how cold the water is but to swim consistently through the winter months to get the mental and physical benefits.”

The Winter Swim Challenge, which is also supported by the RLSS, Zoggs and HUUB, involves swimming in open water for 10 minutes per week from the 1st November 2020 to the 31st March 2021 (in multiple sessions!), or a total of 220 minutes during the challenge period. There are ‘start’ and ‘completed’ swim hats available to let others know you are taking part.

Find out more by visiting the web page here.

The Her Spirit community provides a fun, safe and supportive space for everywomen to get fitter, stronger and healthier. Meet new friends online and locally and take part in virtual and real world events, challenges and experiences.

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220 Triathlon have partnered with the Her Spirit team to include a monthly women’s health and training column, which you can find in every issue of the magazine. Issue 383, covering how training and racing can be affected by the menstrual cycle, is on sale now.