For those that are very comfortable in the ocean and swimming in the ocean is no big deal, there are others that have only swam in lakes, rivers, or pools. For these swimming in the ocean is a completely different experience and some if they don’t know how to do this may put themselves in danger, or just say they don’t like it.
Swimming in the ocean is a blast. In addition to the freedom of swimming without boundaries, and the beauty of the marine life, there’s few things better than the rush of riding a wave into the beach. This is the season many of us in the northern hemisphere start hitting the beach and participating in open water swimming events. Yet along with the fun and excitement of swimming in the ocean there are potential hazards that even the best swimmers need to manage and avoid.
First of all, although obvious, swimming in the ocean is not swimming in a pool – the dynamic nature of the waves, the currents and changing weather patterns make the ocean far more dangerous. But this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t swim in the ocean, it demands you develop an understanding of currents, bottom conditions, tidal changes and surf forecasts. Here’s our suggestions for making your ocean swimming safe and fun.
Familiarize yourself with the conditions. Ask the lifeguards and locals about hazards and the best places to swim.
Know your limits. If the conditions seem beyond your skill level, then stay out of the water or find another beach where the waves are smaller.
Know the bottom conditions and NEVER dive head first into shallow water. The best way to enter the water is wading or running until you are in thigh high water and then dive under the waves with your hands in front of you. Be especially cautious near reefs and rocks. Diving head first into the water can lead to serious head and neck injuries.
Rip currents can be seriously dangerous, and you should know how to spot them and how to swim out of them. Rip currents are formed by the water which is pushed up on the beach by the surf as it makes its way back into the ocean. In many ways rip currents are like a river pulling back into the ocean. These currents are most prevalent near jetties, piers and breaks between reefs. Rip currents also develop in breaks in the sandbar. Rip currents are most powerful following sets of waves and when the tide is going from high to low. The water in a rip current often looks murky and choppy. Also, waves tend not to break in a rip current. If you’re not knowledgeable in spotting the currents, ask the lifeguards. If you find yourself caught in a rip current don’t try swimming directly against the current. Swim parallel to the beach until you are clear of the current and head then swim into the shore.
Don’t swim alone. The ocean is a great place, but it demands respect. Respect the conditions, respect the environment and heed the advice of the locals and you’ll be set for an excellent time.
Sighting, or looking to a fixed point ahead of you, is just as important in the ocean as it is in the pool to ensure you’re moving efficiently in the direction of your end point. Before getting into the water, look around for landmarks that you can use to sight, such as a boat or the coastline. Integrate sighting into the natural rhythm of your stroke by lifting your head up, looking forward, and then rotating your head to breath.
If you’re swimming into waves with a large break, it’s much better to drop or dive under them. You must get deep enough, though, to allow the moving water to pass over you without picking you up. If the waves are smaller, there’s no way to dodge them. Simply aim to keep your stroke rate up and accept that it’s going to be a bumpy ride.
There’s no avoiding it. In order to reduce how much you down, be sure to breathe out entirely when your head is in the water. Spending time exhaling even a little bit as you turn your head to breath can mess with your timing, leading to shorter breaths and greater likelihood of sucking in ocean.
Develop a calming mantra during training to help you relax and slow your breathing. If panic strikes mid-race, turn onto your back and float or switch to an easy breaststroke and repeat your mantra. Panic is common, but the important thing is that you regain control and settle your breathing so that you can reengage in swimming.
Swimming in Ocean is Healthy for you also!
The list of sea water health benefits is nearly endless. But, even if it only had a placebo effect on our physique, our brain would still drive us to the beach.
t’s good to your mood, and it will boost your health. The only thing that sea water does not do is hydrate our body. But that is not even a downside compared to the benefits.
Sea water can be a natural drug and medicine. It stimulates our body and promotes the feeling of well-being that surfers very well know. If you live by the beach or spend a lot of time in coastal areas, you know how receptive we are to sea-sprayed shores.
So, what does sea water contain? On average, sea water has 3.5 percent of salt (sodium chloride). In other words, for one liter of water, you get 35 grams of salts. And then, small parts of magnesium, sulfate and calcium.
Although still not scientifically proven, thalassotherapy uses sea water and sea-based products made from algae, marine salt, mud, seaweed, and ocean water to eliminates skin problems.
Sea water cleans your skin
The mineral salts team up with the sun to regenerate your skin. As a result, ulcers, lupus, acne, and psoriasis are some of the diseases that can be easily cured with sea water.
Sea water strengthens the immune system
The number of red blood cells increases between five to 20 percent after a swim or bath in the sea. The number of white blood cells increases even more. Sea water is a fantastic medicine for people with a weakened immune system, anemia, and high blood sugar levels.
Sea water slows down the development of rheumatism
Ocean water combined with exercise is a great medication for bone and muscle pain, arthritis, circulatory, and postsurgical issues.
Sea water reduces and eliminates anxiety
Because it contains magnesium, sea water will calm you down. People who live a stressful life are advised to go to the beach, not only for its relaxing atmosphere but also because of the soothing medicinal properties of sea water.
Sea water has cicatrization properties
Because it is rich in mineral salts such as sodium and iodine, ocean water has antiseptic and cicatrizing actions on you the skin.
Sea water improves breathing
People who suffer from asthma, severe cough, phlegm and other respiratory problems should go to the beach to breathe the breeze and swim in the sea. The salt water helps eliminate toxins and other elements that attack the lungs.
Sea water cleans out the large intestine
The ingestion of small amounts of ocean water facilitates the cleansing of the colon, detoxifies the body and renews the body’s energies, especially in children.
Sea water helps fight liver and kidney problems
Ocean water accelerates the process of cell regeneration, especially those damaged by diseases such as cirrhosis. It also helps eliminate the excess water accumulated in the abdomen that occurs as a consequence of the disease.
Sea water prevents insomnia and reduces depressive symptoms
Because it helps normalize blood pressure and treats nervousness, a day at the beach will help you sleep better and will naturally boost your mood.
Enjoy swimming in the ocean!