Liezel van der Westhuizen plunge to swim in Cape Town’s cold water To prove it’s enjoyable and to expose herself to its many health benifits.
The tv presenter shared a picture on social media and captioned it:”I’ve been taking to the chilly Cape seawater almost daily over 2019. The aim? To prove it enjoyable; and to expose myself to its many health perks. The research tells us cold-water swimming is a natural antidepressant, immune-booster and metabolism reviver.”
Liezel also wrote on her personal blog called Giraffe in the City, ” It all began early on in 2019. I was becoming tired of hearing Cape Town residents moan about the water being too cold for them to be able to enjoy it. Colleagues and friends would lament about the awesome temperature of Durban water, or PE water, or even cosy tropical island water (Mauritius, Seychelles, sigh) – wishing, wishing, wishing our oceans were warm enough for us to be able to take a nice … long … comfortable dip.
Then it struck me. We can, in fact, enjoy the water – chilly as it is – and I made a pledge to myself right then and there to swim as often as possible, every day, or at least twice a week, and, in the process, to acclimatise to the cold water.
First off, I discovered that I was not alone. In Langebaan, for example, a group of aged 50+ swimmers, the Floating Ducks, head out for a cold-water swim each morning at 8am. They contacted me, recently, buoyed up by the sight of whales they’d spotted during their daily swim and the amazing opportunity this had given them to feel connected with the ocean and its inhabitants.
As more research is needed, the team is on a mission to gather stories on the health benefits reported by an extensive group of cold water swimming fanatics, who thus far claim they:
- experience a strengthened immune system (reduced incidence of colds and flu);
- A raised metabolism (feeling warmer in general for the remainder of the day, easier weight loss or maintenance); and
- A surge in joyful good feelings, related to their sport, that truly make them feel as though they can conquer the day ahead.
Liezel points out 6 tips for braving your first cold water swim
Invest in a surf changing towel to wrap yourself up in [see pic of mine and a wetsuit changing mat, both of which are great investments. You can change on the latter and then drop all your wet kit into it, because it rolls up conveniently into a bag and protects your car from wet items.
Start slowly, with about two minutes in the water, and slowly build up to a longer period (c/o the late great Theodore Yach).
Don’t drive home shivering and shaking; rather warm up first.
Bring a towel that’s warm from the tumble-dryer or wrap a hot-water bottle in your towel to help warm you up before you get dressed.
Share your swims with a friend and make it fun by bringing along an inflatable
Bring along a hot drink in a flask to enjoy afterwards, which will help raise your core body temp. Hot chocolate with marshmallows? Yes, please.
We are sure more Capetonians will definitely be swimming this summer, after all we all need the heath perks.