Sea swimming seems to be more popular than ever at the moment, and guess what makes a perfect place for sea swimming? A small idyllic island with stretches and stretches of breathtaking beaches and wild bays. Although it’s having a surge of popularity of late, the benefits of sea swimming are nothing new – for centuries people have been tapping into the healing power of cold seawater and the fresh sea air.
If you still can’t quite fathom why people are braving the sea at all times of year in all conditions (providing it’s safe, of course) then bear with us and we shall explain all about this popular health and wellbeing activity…
The positive effects of sea swimming are rooted in science. A lot of it has to do with the cold temperature’s effect on our bodies. As we are submerged into the water, it causes our blood vessels to constrict, making us work harder to get the blood pumping, which helps improve circulation over time. This shock effect also triggers the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) which helps our bodies to repair themselves. It is what creates the feeling of relaxation and contentment you get when you get out of the water, and this in turn will help you to sleep better.
If you’ve tried getting in the sea at any other time of year in the U.K outside the absolute height of summer, you will be familiar with the stinging sensation you get on your skin from the cold. Your brain will release endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers, to combat this sensation, which helps with mental health and mood after you’ve gotten out of the water.
You will burn a lot of energy and calories as your body works to keep you warm in the water. This increases metabolism function and has proven to help lose weight. The cold water also exfoliates as well as flushing out impurities in the skin. With the added dose of vitamin D from being outside, it’s great for smoother healthier skin.
So we dare you to take the plunge and give it a go when you come to visit, and who better to egg you on than your Wyldesistas? Check out our guide to where to get your sea swim on, below. We’d advise checking the tides before you grab your towel and head down.
Top spots for sea swimmers on the Isle of Wight
- ● Freshwater Bay
A popular choice for swimming with locals and visitors alike, the iconic rocks of Freshwater Bay have adorned many a kitsch postcard in its day. Fast forward to today, head to the main beach for your dip – a pebble beach which is very easy to access from the road, with parking nearby.
- ● Totland Bay
Another one on the westside – it’s a great place to be for the evening sunsets over Hurst spit. The mostly sandy dunes make it a lovely spot to splash about, no matter what the tide is doing. You can drive straight down and park on the front. Check out The Waterfront pub or Totland Pier Cafe for post-swim refreshments.
- ● St Helens
Nestled between Seaview and Bembridge, you’ll find St Helens on a stretch of coast where frankly all the beaches are quite lovely. Looking out towards Portsmouth and Hayling Island. It’s worth getting the tides right here, as the low tide is very shallow.
- ● Steephill Cove
One of the few Island beaches only accessible on foot, it is a little like walking into a Enid Blyton story with its gorgeous buildings, beach huts, lobster pots and buoys a plenty. Get here early as it’s not much of a well kept secret anymore, but is the perfect spot for a morning dip before the tourist rush. Similarly, later in the day for the same reason. Park in the carpark at the end of Love Lane and follow the footpath signs for the bay.
- ● Whitecliff Bay
Situated on the most eastern tip on the Island, Whitecliff Bay has the feeling of an Italian cove as you make your way down to its crystal like waters. Protected by the cliff of Culver Down, and neatly tucked round the corner from Bembridge ledge, it’s a protected little bay.
● Compton Bay
One of the Isle of Wight’s most famous beaches – for good reason. A sandy beach stretching for miles, with beautiful views of the white chalk cliffs of Tennyson Down. Great for swimming whatever the tide, with big sand dunes. You can park at either end and make your way down to the beach. The toilets are located in the main Compton Carpark.
A short walk from Cowes along the seafront is Gurnard, in the Isle of Wight’s northern quarter. In front of the traditional green beach huts, you’ll spot swimmers year round at all times of day. There’s parking all the way along from Cowes, and it’s also easily accessible by bike from Newport along the cycle track and then along the seafront.