Have you heard of wild swimming or swimming in the wilderness? Wild swimming entails immersing yourself and swimming in outdoor water (in open spaces), whether it's a lake, pond, river, sea, or ocean. The water can be either salty or fresh, but it lacks the presence of organized beaches, artificial rocks, or other human-made structures or pools.
Wild swimming is becoming an increasingly popular trend worldwide. This activity is not only fun and refreshing but also offers numerous health benefits. Let's familiarize ourselves with them in the following lines.
What Is Wild Swimming? What Are the Benefits of This Activity?
"Wild swimming," known as swimming in natural waters, has become popular in the United Kingdom, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, and is now spreading to other countries as a favorite activity among adventure and wellness enthusiasts.
One of the major advantages of swimming in natural waters is the fact that no water-cleaning chemicals, commonly used in pools, are utilized. This means there is no risk of exposure to chlorine and other chemicals that can be harmful to health. It's no wonder that wild swimming has become increasingly popular during the pandemic - people were seeking secluded spots in nature where they could jump into the water, bathe, refresh themselves, swim, and be physically active while avoiding crowds and doing something beneficial for their peace of mind and mental well-being. Pools and other recreational centers were closed at that time.
Why Do People Choose Wild Swimming?
Regarding statistics, in a survey conducted last year among 4,500 outdoor swimmers, 1 in 5 individuals stated that they had started wild swimming in the previous 12 months, indicating a rise in the popularity of this activity. The reasons why people begin wild swimming were also tracked. For instance, among those who started during the first lockdown, 21.5% mentioned that they did so because pools were closed, but over time, an increasing number of individuals reported starting due to the positive effects on mental health.
The Power of Cold Water
The belief that swimming in cold water can improve health is nothing new. Throughout centuries, people worldwide have witnessed the alleviation of pain and enhancement of overall well-being through immersion in cold water. Thanks to numerous conducted studies, there is a scientifically grounded approach to treating physical and mental ailments through swimming in cold water.
Cold water can have numerous positive effects on our bodies. It can improve circulation, aid in cell regeneration, reduce inflammation and accelerate recovery after physical exertion. It can also help reduce pain and discomfort caused by conditions such as arthritis and migraines, as well as decrease stress and enhance mood.
When it comes to boosting the immune system, studies indicate that short-term exposure to cold, such as swimming in cold water, can increase the number of white blood cells, which are crucial in fighting infections and diseases.
The Adrenaline Rush
Wild swimming can trigger an adrenaline rush due to the associated challenges such as cold water, remote locations, fast currents, or large waves. Many people who engage in wild swimming describe a sense of excitement and a surge of energy after immersing themselves in cold water, which is linked to the release of adrenaline in the body.
Where Can You Try Wild Swimming in Our Area?
Mountain rivers like the Drina and Tara are crystal clear and hide various caves, waterfalls, and other enchanting spots where you can swim and enjoy the view. Our Rafting Center Drina Tara camp is located right on the riverbank, and in addition to that, many of our hiking, e-bike tours, and ATV quad rides lead to the lakes of Zelengora and Trnovačko Lake. You can also visit Zelengorsko and Orlovačko Lake in our 4X4 Jeep Photo Safari tour.
Our Tara River Canyon is the most beautiful and deepest canyon in Europe and rightfully holds a place on the UNESCO protected areas list. If you are an adventurer eager to engage in wild swimming, you should know that within the Sutjeska National Park, you can find the Sutjeska and Hrčavka rivers, as well as eight lakes: Donje Bare, Gornje Bare, Crno Lake, Bijelo Lake, Orlovačko Laske, Borilovačko Lake, Štirinsko Lake, and Kotlaničko Lake. There is also the popular Trnovačko Lake.
Lastly, it is important to emphasize that, like any other physical activity, wild swimming carries certain risks that should be taken into consideration. First and foremost, it is important to be aware of one's abilities and limitations, as well as to monitor weather conditions and other potential hazards in the surroundings, such as depths, currents, and rapids. With proper preparation, caution, and attention, wild swimming can be a beautiful experience that positively impacts physical and mental health.