There are benefits to being an Islander. Here in the UK we are blessed with an abundance of beaches with great access to the sea. On the most part we are never too far from the ocean, whether it be the shores on the Atlantic coast or the shivering inducing waters of the North sea to while away those summer days. As well as ocean waters we are also lucky enough to have the chance to swim in great rivers, lakes and also some ponds. Outdoor swimming grows in popularity year after year; and what better way to spend a scorching summers day than taking a dip in Britain’s natural waters.

For those new to outdoor swimming there are a few things that you must take into account before taking that first plunge. Just like swimming in your local swimming baths there are rules that you need to follow. Outdoor swimming can be dangerous, but follow the guidelines and it can provide a great way to exercise – and most importantly – have fun.

Consideration For Others

Wherever you swim, remember, you may not be alone. Be considerate of others using the waters. You’ll be sharing alongside people enjoying fishing, boaters and also during the summer months there will most definitely be nesting birds. So try and be as quiet as possible; screaming and splashing can cause annoyance for other users as well as local wildlife. When sharing water with fishermen/women always be conscious of your surroundings. Avoid their lines and leave ample room for them to cast. If you have to pass, do it quickly and try not to disturb the water too much

Personal Safety

A lot of outdoor swimming locations won’t have a lifeguard so you have to take extra care for your own safety. Plan ahead. Obtaining local knowledge can be vital when it comes to knowing when and where not to swim and always follow any signs that are displayed near bodies of water.

Always check the weather beforehand, and never allow your pride to get in the way of deciding against a swim if the weather is showing adverse conditions or is set to take a turn for the worst.

Let someone know when you are going and when you’ll be back. If you get into trouble having someone know you’re missing may save valuable time and save your life.

Try not to swim alone and be honest about your abilities and limitations. Don’t let anyone convince you ‘you’ll be fine’ if you’re feeling out of your depth. Outdoor exercise like this should be enjoyable; you should be encouraged to participate, not forced.

Look After The Environment

When you’re swimming outdoors, never forget you’re sharing a natural environment. You may not be able to see it but you will be sharing the water with a whole ecosystem of plant and wildlife.

Enjoy the waters without damaging vegetation as much as possible. Having a plan for entering and exiting the water that provides the clearest entryway is the best way to protect nature.

Keep well clear of gravel shoals and islands, as they will be home to nesting birds that will feel stressed if you get too close.

Keeping these rules in mind you can enjoy the freedom of exercising in natural waters across the UK. Open water exercise can be a real advantage for those training for triathlons and there is nothing quite like swimming under an open sky. Open water swimming can be integrated into personal training courses, allowing for variety in training during summer months.