Is 70 Degrees Outside Too Cold to Swim? (Answered)

Robert Wimberly

Updated on:

Is 70 Degrees Outside Too Cold to Swim

Swimming is a timeless source of fun – whether you’re beating boredom, bonding with family and friends, or competing as an athlete. However, despite the fun it provides, unfavorable water temperatures always ruin the mood.

You may ask yourself, “Is 70 degrees outside too cold to swim?” The answer varies and depends on preferences and personal tolerance for low temperatures. People from colder regions see 70 degrees as tolerable. However, most people would find it too chilly for swimming.

Factors That Affect How Cold Water Feels (Personal Tolerance for Cold)

Personal tolerance for cold water can vary based on swimming conditions and various factors as follows:

1. Acclimatization


Acclimatization refers to the body’s ability to gradually adjust to colder temperatures over time, making individuals more tolerant to cold water, even in 70 degree weather. Regularly spending time in the cold can help the body adapt and increase tolerance.

2. Aging


Age can decrease cold tolerance due to changes in thermoregulatory response from inefficient sweat glands and reduced blood circulation. In other words, older people aren’t very good at handling temperature extremes, so 70℉ may prove too cold for them.

3. Gender


Women often have lower cold tolerance compared to men. This is due to physiological differences, such as lower metabolic rate and fewer body muscles in women, which provides less insulation against the cold.

4. Physical fitness


Physical fitness levels can affect cold tolerance, with more physically fit individuals having better temperature regulation. Regular exercise and cardiovascular fitness can improve the body’s ability to handle cold water.

5. Genetic variations


Genetic variations, such as the presence or absence of the alpha-actinin-3 protein, can also influence resilience to low temperatures, affecting whether can you swim in 70 degree water.

List the Risks of Swimming in Cold Water

Swimming in cold water poses several risks, including:

1. Sudden Cold Immersion


Plunging into cold water without proper acclimatization can lead to a shock response, causing an involuntary gasp and a sudden increase in heart rate. This reaction may lead to accidental water inhalation, panic, and even drowning.

2. Cold Immobility


Cold water can quickly reduce your ability to move effectively due to muscle and joint stiffness, hindering your ability to stay afloat.

3. Cramp Vulnerability


Cold water increases the risk of muscle cramps, which can be painful. Cramps can impact your ability to swim and increase the chances of accidents or fatigue.

4. Asthma Trigger


Cold water, especially the coldest water, can induce asthma attacks. The shock of cold immersion and the inhalation of cold air can lead to bronchospasms and breathing problems.

5. Cold Water Hives


Some individuals may experience an allergic reaction known as cold water urticaria, which causes hives, itching, and swelling of the skin upon contact with cold water. This can be uncomfortable and even distressing.

6. Hypothermia


Prolonged exposure to cold water can lead to hypothermia, a potentially life-threatening condition where the body loses heat faster than it can produce.

7. Afterdrop


After leaving the cold water, your body temperature may continue to drop as cold blood from your extremities circulates back to your core. This phenomenon, known as afterdrop, can lead to further hypothermia and its associated risks.

8. Worsen Pre-existing Health Risks


The shock of cold immersion and the physical stress of swimming can exacerbate these pre-existing conditions and increase the risk of adverse health events.

How to Stay Warm While Swimming in Cold Water


Staying warm in cold water and maintaining a comfortable swimming temperature is crucial. Here’s how you can achieve it:

  1. Suit up by wearing the appropriate attire for swimming, including a neoprene swimsuit, cap, gloves, footwear, and earplugs.
  2. Before getting in the cold water, prepare by gradual acclimatization, mental readiness, pre-swim warm-up, and essential stretching.
  3. Once in the water, raise your metabolism and heart rate through swift arm and leg motions.
  4. Control breathing with bubbles and put emphasis on exhaling.
  5. Don’t neglect after-swim care. Warm up gradually with warmer clothes and beverages once you’re done swimming.


Swimming is never truly enjoyable when the temperature is at odds with your comfort. So, before plunging into the waters, it’s always vital to consider a good water temperature and your own unique circumstances.

Now that you have the answer to the question, “Is 70 degrees outside too cold to swim?” it becomes essential to acquaint yourself with your personal conditions and thresholds. Through this, you can surely determine whether it is too warm or too cold to swim outside!

Furthermore, check this guide to know the ideal air temperature for swimming.

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