Swim in winter? That sounds exciting! How about scuba diving, surfing, windsurfing, maybe kite surfing? Your swimsuit serves you well, and it never crosses your mind to think about keeping yourself warm on hot summer days when you have a quick dip in the pool to cool down. But lately, you’ve been reading about swimming in winter and how refreshing it is. Could this be for you?
A swimsuit does not keep you warm in cold water. Swimsuit material only gives you flexibility and dries quickly. You wear a swimsuit when it’s hot, and the water is warm. It won’t insulate in cold water or prolonged ocean swimming. For this, you need a wetsuit.
You want to try something new, and you’ve heard about the health benefits of cold-water swimming and continuing to swim through the winter months. It’s a chilly affair but can be exhilarating, so why not consider a wetsuit to keep you relatively warm and allow you to enjoy the water without feeling cold. These are things you should know about how a wetsuit works to keep you warm.
Can A Swimsuit Keep You Warm?
To put it this way, if you want to swim in water below 70 degrees, it’s not a good idea to wear a swimsuit. Swimsuits are designed for flexibility, protection from the sun, and aesthetics but not to retain body heat.
You know that your beautiful newly bought swimsuit will create a certain tan as you will only burn in the exposed bits, and you also know that it looks good as it’s the latest design. And yes, you can swim in it too and confidently frolic in the water knowing it won’t come off as it fits well, and the elastic is of good quality.
Swimsuit fabrics range from Lycra to Spandex, all have elasticity for movement in the water and dry quickly after swimming. A one-piece swimsuit would keep you warmer than a one-piece bathing costume or bikini – the less material the less warmth. Remember however that if you wish to swim in cold water or do water sports, you’ll need to invest in a swimsuit that retains your body heat for longer.
Brave The Water With These Swimming Items To Keep You Warm
Besides the full wetsuit, you can also ensure you retain more heat by donning a hood, booties, gloves, or all if you like, especially if the water is extremely cold or you are scuba diving or engaging in a water activity for a long time. Consider these extra items to add extra warmth.
Wear A Swimming Cap Or Hood
We lose heat through our heads. Once again, decide on the thickness required for your specific needs. You know your body and how it reacts to cold water so take time to kit yourself out for a positive swimming experience.
A neoprene hood is the thickest and, like the wetsuit, helps you retain maximum heat; mostly worn in very cold conditions or pursuing diving excursions. The silicone cap is thick but not as thick as the neoprene; it retains heat and is great for cold water swimming.
The latex cap is the thinnest and quite stretchy, so it is good for open-water swimming and partaking in flexible water activities. It hardly keeps heat from escaping and is mostly worn to keep hair from getting in the way.
Earplugs Can Help You Keep Warm
The ear has many nerve endings, so cold water entering the ear can make you feel cold. Earplugs will keep the water out and add another barrier to assist you with keeping warm.
Gloves For Even Colder Conditions
The feeling of icy water on your hands is instant when you step into cold water. Neoprene gloves that fit well and don’t let in too much water keep your hands warm and buy you more swimming or diving time.
Let’s Not Forget Booties
Our feet are no exception to losing heat, so remember to buy a pair of booties for those cold swims. Your feet go into the water first, and how comforting to be protected from the cold and keep you brave while you wade in further for that invigorating cold swim championed by other converts.
Customize Your Swimming Gear
Choose your wetsuit and accessories according to your body temperature fluctuations. Everyone is different and reacts to cold water very personally and according to their body weight, temperature, and physiology. Swimming in cold water in a wetsuit that keeps you warm can help you have a more enjoyable time in the water and give you the maximum benefit from the experience.
A Wetsuit Can Keep You Warm
A wetsuit is what you are looking for to spend more time in cold water. But how would it keep you from jumping right out of the water after a minute? Here is how it works. A wetsuit made of non-porous material, usually neoprene, will keep you warm when swimming in cold water.
A wetsuit is ideal for a range of 50 – 78 °F. Getting a full-bodied wetsuit is a good idea to keep your arms and lower legs warm. There are different wetsuits for different activities, but to ensure flexibility when swimming, you could get a wetsuit designed for triathletes.
How Does a Wetsuit Keep You Warm?
Wetsuits made from neoprene have cells that enclose air which keeps the heat in but ironically, to generate the heat, you need to let the sea water into your wetsuit and allow your body temperature to warm the water.
Let in water through the neck area of your wetsuit. The water will also seep in from your ankle area and wrist area. After an initial rush of cold water, your body temperature warms the water, and the wetsuit’s insulating properties keep the warmed water from cooling. You can now happily extend your swimming time.
Wetsuit Thicknesses For Different Conditions
When buying a wetsuit, you need to consider what type of swimming you will be doing, where you will be swimming, and how cold the water will be. Furthermore, you must consider your cold-water threshold. If you suffer from cold water, you will need a thicker wetsuit.
The thickness of the neoprene is measured in millimeters. The table below indicates the different thicknesses ideally suited for certain water temperatures.
The first number indicates the thickness of the neoprene around the abdomen, the second indicates the thickness around your ankles and wrists, and the third is the thickness in the arm area. Remember that the thicker the neoprene, the less flexible your wetsuit is.
If you are scuba diving, a thicker wetsuit will keep your core body warm, and if you are swimming, a thinner wetsuit is more desirable for freer movement.
|Water Temperature – ° Fahrenheit||Wetsuit Thickness||Suitable wetsuit||Weather conditions|
|65° – 75°||0.5mm – 2/1mm||top||A chill in the air|
|62° – 68°||2mm – 3/2mm||Full wetsuit||Windy conditions with a definite chill in the air|
|58° – 63°||3/2mm – 4/3mm||Full wetsuit + booties||Very cold and longer periods in the water|
|52°-58°||4/3mm -5/4/3mm||Full wetsuit + booties + hood||Winter conditions with longer periods in the water|
|43° – 52°||5/4mm – 5/4/3mm||Full wetsuit + booties + hood+ gloves|
|42° and below||6/5mm +||Full wetsuit+ booties + hood + gloves|
Cold water swimming has become very popular, and your swimsuit, ideally suited for warmer water and short swims in a pool or sea, will not keep you warm. To partake in this newly trendy cold-water swimming, invest in a wetsuit that suits your warmth needs.
Don’t forget to add any extra items that might help you remain warmer for longer. Remember, the thicker the wetsuit, the warmer you are, but the less flexibility you have, so customize your experience according to your swimming adventures.