How Cold is Too Cold For Water Temperatures?

A few weeks into the first month of January and we’re already counting down the days until summer begins! While scarves and boots are fun to wear, winter temperatures make it hard to swim and enjoy the beach. You’ve probably heard about the rising popularity of cold water swimming, but for all of the warm weather lovers out there, the question remains: How cold is too cold?

Preferences First

The non-committal answer, “It depends,” really rings true here. Some people live for cold water—it gets their adrenaline pumping and intensifies their workouts. Others dread it. When defining “too cold,” start with yourself. If you’re a Florida native, you probably shriek at the thought of swimming in January. On the other hand, someone who trains in London would view it as no big deal.

Rule of Thumb

Most group fitness and aquatic fitness instructors recommend swimming in water that is 83 – 90 degrees Fahrenheit. If you’re doing an intense cardio workout, you can go as low as the 70s or upper 60s. But if you’re just standing in the pool or casually walking pool laps, you should stay in pools with a higher temperature to avoid loss of heat regulation. The rule of thumb is that more than 2 hours of swimming in 60-degree water or lower is dangerous. Keep track of the thermometer and pay attention to the clock and you’ll be in the safe zone!

Signs of Hypothermia

Any time you’re exposed to cold air or cold water, you’re at a higher risk for hypothermia. We’ve all heard of hypothermia… but what is it exactly? According to Web hypothermia is the condition of having an abnormally low body temperature, usually caused by prolonged exposure to cold temperatures.

As we round off the last few weeks of January and head into February, know that swimming isn’t off limits. Just be aware of what is comfortable for your body, pay attention to temperatures, and take note of how long you’re swimming. Good luck!

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