6 New Year, New You Health, fitness & beauty Outdoor swimming

Immersing yourself in a natural body of water can be incredibly invigorating and lead to a wonderful sense of wellbeing, but it’s also a great opportunity for adventure. Here are some tips on how to make the transition from pool to open water. Words: Tamsin Wressell

How to get into it Open water swimming is a fairly easy transition from pool swimming in terms of technique; however, it’s important to feel competent and be a strong swimmer before leaving the comfort of lane ropes and pool walls. Practice strokes in an indoor pool first and once confidence has been built, move to a lido to get used to the temperature change before making a jump into large outdoor bodies of water — most organised outdoor swim venues are at least 1,640ft courses, so endurance is key.

How to stay safe Once endurance has been built, there are a few other safety measures to be considered. First, invest in the right kit, including a wetsuit and warm clothes to wrap up in once you exit the water. Before getting in, splash some water on the back of your neck — this will allow your body to adjust to the temperature of the water and take some of the shock away. Check the weather, avoiding high winds, always go with a friend and avoid drinking water from open bodies.

Where to go Lakes, rivers, ponds, the sea — there are plenty of options of places to try

open water swimming. Organised venues are available across the country that offer the safety of lifeguards and markers to follow. Both and outdoorswimmer. com are great resources for finding open water swimming venues in the UK that are supervised, listed by county. From there, you can go through to the venue’s website and book. For wild swimming spots, try, which lists places as well as groups to join.

Charity swimming A relay race by We Remember Tem will take place in the summer and autumn, which will see swimmers join with runners, cyclists, climbers and canoeists in a national relay race. It’ll raise money for the Laura Hyde Foundation, a small charity that’s trying to ensure all medical and emergency services personnel have access to the best mental health support network. Inside the (waterproof) baton will be a poem that some relay teams will take to their local NHS hospitals and read to the staff there. Te baton will have a small carabiner to attach it to a tow float or similar, to make it easy to swim with. For more information, email

What to buy 1 Red Original Pro Change Robe Tis robe has a waterproof outer shell and super soft fleece to help you warm up after getting out the of water. £144.95.

2 Aquapac Keymaster Tis waterproof pouch is perfect for storing essentials such as keys and money when swimming. It has a handy lanyard that can be worn around the neck. £15.

3 Aqua Sphere Kaiman Exo goggles Lightweight and designed to be comfortable when worn for long periods — ideal for swimming in open water. £19.99.

4 Speedo Xenon fullsuit Tick neoprene panels provide extra insulation and buoyancy while leaving enough room for flexibility to swim. £250.

5 Swim Secure dry bag Has plenty of space and will keep your belongings dry. Can be filled with air to use as a float. £28.

BackBaller — an Irish invention used by global sports stars

A small Irish company from Shannon, County Clare is offering relief to those unable to access their physiotherapist with a range of ingenious self-massage devices

he’d require back surgery to deal with a rupture between his L5 and S1 vertebrae. At the time, Noel noticed


modern-day athletes were very engaged with the process of foam-rolling. Noel bought one and started a programme from Gerard Hartmann with the aim of releasing the tight muscles causing lower back pain. “It was working but every day

I used it, I was rolling all over the floor and saying to myself ‘Wouldn’t it be so much better if the roller was mounted on a frame to stabilise it’,” explains Noel. So, he made a prototype and began

using it. Just four weeks later, he was pain-free and began to regain his full range of motion. “I was able to run again,” Noel says.

“Tis thing changed my life and I knew it was a product that people would want.” Since

its launch in September

2016, BackBaller has become the go-to foam roller for many of the world’s leading sports stars


teams, including Manchester City. Based in Shannon, Muscle Ballers

T: +353 (0) 61 364085 M: +353 (0) 86 9127534 UK T: 01245 79 0320 E:

t all started five years ago when Irish former international runner Noel Marshall was told

“Since its launch in 2016, BackBaller has become the go-to foam roller for many of the world’s leading sports stars and teams, including Manchester City”

is continuing to develop other self-myofascial release products as

its sales rise. Last year’s topped €1m (£870,000) and

company is on course to double that in 2020. “We’re exporting worldwide,” says

Noel. “We’ll continue to grow as people are realising the importance of good health and looking after themselves.”

sales the

Promotional Content • Saturday 9th January 2021

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