Staying Warm at the Beach no Matter the Season
With winter indeed just around the corner, whether you live in a part of the country and experiences snow, no snow, or just a dip in temperatures—you're no doubt still drawn to the ocean. Open water swimming is one of many popular ocean activities that seem to be growing worldwide, even during the winter months. Whether swimming or just observing and reconnecting to the ocean during winter, it's essential to realize the power of cold water and cold temperatures and to have various means of staying warm at the beach.
For those of you who keep their treks to their favorite beaches throughout colder months and winter and those who brave the cold Atlantic waters, here are some great tips on keeping body temp up and staying warm at the beach.
Check the Forecast
While the weather forecast can't always predict everything, it's good to do before going to the beach. Having a general idea of what to expect and what might let you plan what to wear and bring accordingly so you won't be caught in unexpected weather like freezing rain, gusty cold wind, or a snowstorm. Make sure to pack clothing appropriate for the weather predicted for that day.
Pick the Right Fabric
For many beaches, the weather might be too chilly for shorts. While beaches like Florida and Hawaii may still be warm enough for bikinis, other beaches won't be as tropical. Consider wearing capris, long pants, or leggings that you can easily fold or pull up, so no hems drag in potentially damp sand.
Even if you are cautious since you are on the beach and near the ocean, spray and other unpredictable events may still cause your clothing to get wet; while natural fibers make for great clothing, they are unfortunately not too great when they get damp. Try inside to wear clothing that is either mix of natural and synthetic, or synthetic fibers. Synthetic fibers tend to be very fast-drying, which translates into not having to wear damp, cold clothing for hours on end when you could be enjoying the sea.
Layering is Great
Dressing in layers will allow you better to control your body temperature and your comfort level. By layering clothes, you'll be able to remove an article if it gets too warm or add another if the temperature unexpectedly drops. For instance, a tank top with a sweater, sweatshirt, or hoodie will allow you to keep warm if cold or cool off if overheated. Additionally, make sure to pack a waterproof layer, or jacket, just in case.
Sun and Wind Protection
Yes, even in the middle of winter or a cloudy day, you need your sunscreen. While it's true UV indexes dip in the colder winter months, UV rays still exist. UV rays are most skin cancers and melanoma as well as cause premature aging of the skin and cause sun damage such as wrinkles, leathering skin, liver spots, actinic keratosis, and solar elastosis. UV rays can also cause eye issues.
So, it's just as important to apply your sunscreen as directed on the beach in winter on any part of your body exposed, like your face, hands, arms, or tops of feet, for example. While at the beach, you'll be near a large body of water with a bright surface and possibly white sand. Both of these reflect the sun's rays. It is highly possible to receive sun damage and even a sunburn for even a short wintertime beach visit. To keep your skin protected and bring a pair of sunglasses for those bright days.
Windburn is as real as sunburn, and you can protect yourself from it easily by following the same steps as you would defend against sunburn. Make sure you apply sunscreen to exposed skin and wear sunglasses to protect your eyes. Ideally, a thick layer of moisturizer along with sunscreen will also bolster your defense against dry and burned skin.
Cold for Hot
If you've always got your handy thermos or water bottle on hand when packing up the car on your way to the beach, grab a second one and fill it with hot water. Add some waterproof containers to take along, and you have a handy hand or foot warmer by pouring the hot water into flasks or containers. These can warm up gloves, boots, and yourself at the end of a winter beach outing. Bring some tea bags or instant coffee, too, to reward yourself with something hot to drink after that can warm from the inside out.
Keep your Heart Rate Elevated
Braving the elements on the sea or the beach, keeping your heart rate raised to keep you and your body warm is essential. Specifically for all our surfing and bodyboard ladies out there, you must warm up just like you would for any physical activity. Try and choose a dynamic warm-up that includes jogging, bodyweight squats, arm, and leg swings, neck rolls, stretches, and a series of jumping jacks or other static movements. No need to overdo it, just keep it short and focused before you swim or surf or enjoy the beautiful water.
If you're going to be out in the cold on the beach for several hours or the day, bring snacks and food. You may want to treat yourself to warm and hearty foods like oatmeal, pasta, or energy bars. You might want to leave fruit or foods with high water content, like soup or stews, for after your winter beach exploring. Foods with high water content can lower your body temperature, which is not very good for staying warm at the beach.
Bring the Cozy
Once you either leave the water or the beach, a quick jog or fast-paced walk will help keep your body temps up until you can dry off or get to your vehicle. When you get back to your car, swap out damp jackets and shoes for dry ones. Make sure to blast the heat when fully inside because as you stop moving, your body temp lowers. Feel free to pack a thick blanket and extra socks or sweaters too to wrap yourself up in after your winter beach adventure.
We at Lime Ricki hope you stay warm and stay near the water this winter and enjoy everything the ocean has to offer.