cold water swimming menopause

Menopause Treatment > Wellness > Cold water swimming eases menopause

Cold water swimming eases menopause

Jan 25, 2024

“It was my husband who inspired me to visit the local lido this summer. He had come across an article extolling the health benefits of outdoor swimming. I’ve always been apprehensive about public pools; they seem fine when you’re on a relaxed holiday with the added confidence of a tan, or if you’re at a private villa. But the idea of undressing in front of strangers has always been daunting. And isn’t the water in those pools quite chilly?

This patient had faced challenges with her body image since motherhood, making it increasingly difficult to engage in regular exercise. As she entered her 40s, the effectiveness of various diets waned. Her comfort zone became limited to walking her dog in the local park twice a day. The combination of insufficient exercise and the onset of menopause severely impacted her self-esteem, weight management, mood stability, and overall enjoyment of life. For her 50th birthday, her husband presented her with an elegant, bright red swimsuit designed to enhance and flatter her figure. During her initial clinic visit, she shared the empowering experience of wearing it for the first time.

‘Standing before the mirror, I barely recognized myself. This newfound confidence propelled me to the nearest lido. It was a particularly warm summer day, intensified by a sudden hot flush. By the time I arrived at the lido, I was eager to plunge into the cool water. Overcoming the internal struggle to unveil my swimsuit-clad body was immense, but I managed. Gradually, it became easier. The realization that nobody around me paid any heed was liberating. I recall another hot flush as I descended the ladder into the refreshing water, feeling an instant sense of relief. My initial strokes were clumsy, but soon, the distance across the pool seemed less daunting. As I swam, a sense of relaxation enveloped me, something I hadn’t felt in a long time. Submerging my head under water, I was greeted by a serene, shimmering light dancing on the zinc pool bottom.

Rolling onto my back, I floated effortlessly, gazing at the clouds meandering across the azure sky. It was in this moment of tranquility that I truly grasped the therapeutic nature of swimming. Out here, surrounded by fresh air and everyday sounds, the water seemed to dissolve my stress and cool my flushed skin.’

Swimming is a low-impact exercise that provides a comprehensive workout with minimal effort or equipment. It’s particularly crucial during perimenopause and menopause for women to find an exercise that aligns with their lifestyle, offers social engagement, and supports body weight management, flexibility, muscle tone, circulation, and heart health.

This client has bravely continued to swim in the lido, even as water temperatures have dipped below 10 degrees. Cold water swimming isn’t suitable for everyone and requires gradual acclimatisation, preferably in the company of others. There are numerous winter swimming groups nationwide, offering significant social and physiological benefits: improved circulation, reduced joint inflammation, mood enhancement, and overall contribution to a healthy lifestyle, vital for women at any stage of menopause.