Wild swimming catching on even in the cold

The weather may be seasonably wild at times, but that doesn’t seem to be deterring the hardy souls embracing wild swimming despite the chill.

In fact, the benefits of cold water swims, dips or plunges are hailed as many and both physical and mental – from boosting circulation and burning calories, to releasing endorphins and helping to reduce stress.

One group of swimmers have made braving the elements at Loughmacrory, outside Omagh in Co Tyrone, part of everyday life.

Personal trainers Paddy McGrath and Daniel Fox started taking to the waters as part of their routine, but now the group has grown.

“Did research on it showing that it does really help with anxiety and depression,” Paddy told UTV.

“And I would just advise anybody that’s feeling a bit down to give it a go. ”

Start off with cold showers maybe, not just taking a plunge at this time of year into the lough...

Paddy McGrath, personal trainer

While the group have to ensure social distancing and limited numbers in the current coronavirus climate, they definitely appreciate the opportunity to still enjoy the outdoors.

“It’s like a personal challenge,” one swimmer noted.

“We’re so restricted and we can’t do much, but at least you can challenge yourself to do something, to get out of your comfort zone and push your boundaries a bit.”

Our Sara took the plunge and joined those enjoying the benefits of wild swimming. Credit: UTV

Those taking part find it a refreshing experience, one that boosts their energy and sets them up for the day ahead.

“To do something really hard first thing in the morning, it’s just going to make everything else you do that day really easy,” Daniel added.

“You definitely do feel good coming out of it - the rest of the day, you’ve more energy, you just feel better, like you’ve done something really hard, you’ve accomplished something.”

Anyone considering trying wild swimming should be mindful of safety, including not going out alone, otherwise it could be just the boost needed – albeit a baltic one!