The Power of Outdoor Swimming

You’re in rude health when…you skinny dip when you’re not skinny, you chunky dunk. You dive in without dipping your toe in first. You take the plunge. All year round.

At Rude Health, we do things because they make us feel great. That’s how we discovered our love of wild swimming. It got our adrenaline pumping, our endorphins flowing and we found that taking a quick morning dip made the porridge we ate afterwards taste even better. Win. Win.

We now run wild swims up and down the country, all year round. Swimming has introduced us to inspiring people like adventurer Jamie Ramsay and cold-water gurus The Wild Swimming Brothers and it’s lead us to amazing places like The Serpentine in Hyde Park and the Salford Quays docs. You can find information on all of our upcoming events, including our swims, here.


Wild Swimming: What’s All the Fuss About?

Swimming al fresco in cold water boosts your immune system, decreases inflammation and pain, and increases blood flow as well as increasing fertility and libido in both men and women. Ding. Dong.
The act of bathing and swimming is therapeutic. Hydrotherapy has been used as a cure for all manner of ailments since ancient times.
George Bernard Shaw, Benjamin Britten, Charles Darwin and Florence Nightingale were all advocates of cold baths to strengthen the mental constitution and physical state. Who’d of known?


WHERE CAN I DO IT?

Our top swimming spots in London:

Tooting Bec Lido
An open air lido in Tooting. Offering swimming all year round. Whatcha waiting for?
The Serpentine
Hidden fresh water lake in the middle of Hyde Park. Don’t walk, run.
Hampstead Heath
Men’s, women’s, and mixed pools on offer, surrounded by the greenery of Hampstead Heath. Electrifyingly cold.
London Royal Docs
Fresh water docs surrounded by the city. Perfect for a pre-work dip.
Our top swimming spots in THE UK:

Salford Quays, Manchester
Surrounded by MediaCity, the Salford Quays are the perfect place to get your quick early morning endorphin fix.
Goldiggins Quarry
A secret, spring-fed lake out in the moors of Cornwall. Tranquil with a capital T.
Lower Ddwli Falls
Take a plunge at the bottom of a waterfall in South Wales. Caution: may cause swimming addiction.
Kailpot Crag, Lake District
The Lake District isn’t scarce of swimming spots but this is a good’un for crystal clear waters.

INTERVIEW

Looking For More Inspiration? 
Meet George, The Serpentine Swimming Club Founder

 

What keeps you in RH and why?

I started open water swimming 30 years ago as a mature law student in the ponds at Hampstead near my home. It had an immediately rejuvenating effect, making me feel more awake and less depressed about the slow progress that I was making in my studies. The morning swim has become a regular feature of every day.


What made you start swimming in the Serpentine? Why the interest in chilly morning dips? Where did that come from?

I had to take my children to school on the train to Kensington and discovered the Serpentine en route to my office in the West End. The Serpentine Swimming Club is simply the most stunning place to swim and people are wonderful

After a bit, you have completely come to terms with the challenge and when you get out, you feel totally exhilarated, re-born and ready for the day.

In winter it is a little bit more like “category 2” fun – where there is quite a lot of suffering during the swim and you get more benefit during the recovery – and in summer, it is a joy from start to finish.


How do you feel when you dive in and when you hop out of the water at the end? Which do you prefer and what does each make you feel?

You never get completely used to the shock or tingle (depending on it being winter or summer) of getting into the water. You have to let go of any worries at least for a few moments while you are coping with your bodies reaction.


Aside from swimming what makes you tick within an average day?

Porridge and Power naps! Essential after the invigoration of the morning swim and taken after lunch for 15 minutes during which I invariably fall completely asleep and wake spontaneously.


Can you give us an idea of what your normal day to day would look like?

Wake about 5.45am, potter, stretches, leave by 7.15 on my bike for the Serpentine, arrive at the office by 9.15am, leave work by 7pm, usually for home, but one evening there is pool training and on another my Hungarian class.


If you could only bring one luxury item to a desert island what would it be? What have you found to be the most valuable item you’ve taken with you on your travels?

Eye mask for the power naps. Swimming kit.


What is your fridge staple?

Lightly carbonated water


What is the first thing you do in the morning and last thing you think of at night?

Make tea.
That everything that has happened is ok.


Tell us about your channel swim. 
What inspired it? What did it feel like knowing you had that much distance ahead of you? How different was it to the Serpentine and your expectations? What’s next?

My 3 teenage daughters swimming the Channel in a relay with 6 of their schoolmates, which I organised as a fund raiser for the school in 2014. That was the best day of my life and I put my name down for a solo shortly afterwards, which seemed completely surreal at the time. It has been amazing to overcome one limitation after another, ending up with a 15 hour swim which was not quite successful due to conditions, but I know I could do it on another day. I was dreading it until I got into the water and watched the sunrise, knowing that I would probably see it go down during the same swim. The Serpentine was a fantastic training ground, not just the fabulous stretch of water, but the numerous Channel Swimmer members who gave me lots of tips and encouragement. I may give it another go but don’t feel it to be a compulsion.


What is your go to sing song in the shower?

An aria that starts “Ecco ridente in cielo” from the Barber from Sevile.



If you were invisible for a day what would you do?

Spend time watching how my loved ones go about their day.


If you could write a billboard with any message on it what would it say?

Don’t let your heart be closed by anything.


Would you rather crackers as hands OR Almond Drink cartons as legs?

Cartons.


What would be your food of choice in a food fight?

Bananas


How would your nearest and dearest describe you?

Dependable, fun-loving, independent