Swimming in lakes, oceans, or rivers can be both a great workout and fun to do. Being able to swim in something other than a chlorine pool can be really enjoyable and much easier on your skin and hair, which can get dried out by a pool's chemicals. There are some disadvantages to swimming in open waters, but wearing a drysuit can help eliminate a few of these.
Swimming in cold water is not much fun and, in some cases, can be very dangerous. Your body loses heat up to 26 times faster in water than air of the same temperature. The advantage to wearing a drysuit is it prevents water from contacting the skin so you stay warm longer and are able to swim for longer periods in cold water. They are made of a Polyurethane-coated nylon material, which has an insulating air space between the layers to help keep you warm.
A nice feature of drysuits is they provide buoyancy in the water. This is helpful if you are a less-skilled swimmer and need a little help keeping afloat. A drysuit will not provide complete buoyancy but will give you a little extra to make swimming easier. People who use drysuits for scuba diving often add over 20 pounds or more of weight to a belt to compensate for the buoyancy of a drysuit. Long distance swimmers and triathletes have found drysuits especially helpful because of this feature because they do not expend as much energy swimming because they are more on top of the water rather than plowing through it.
Drysuits are made of Polyurethane-coated nylon, which is very strong. It is helpful in preventing scrapes or cuts if you swim against anything sharp or jagged.
Drysuits are not cheap. You can spend between $350 to more than $1,000 depending on quality and brand. If you plan on using it frequently, it may make sense to buy the higher-priced suit as it will probably be more comfortable and last longer.
Drysuits can be challenging to get into and out of. They are definitely not as easy as pulling on a swimsuit. Also, because they are sealed at the neck, wrists and ankles, they can restrict movement somewhat when swimming. Think of a shirt sleeve when you reach out to pick something up. It will pull up your arm. If the cuff fits snugly around your wrist, it would restrict you from extending your arm fully. This is what happens when swimming with a drysuit.
- Photo Credit swimming image by JoÃ£o Freitas from Fotolia.com
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