Cold Water Swimming,  NEWS,  SAFETY

Winter swimming Q&A with cold water expert Dr Mark Harper

In the second in our new series of Outdoor Swimmer patron events, Dr Mark Harper told us how his work as a consultant anaesthetist helped him accidentally stumble upon the positive effects of cold-water swimming.

Dr Mark Harper will be known by many as a swimmer and cold-water expert. He is an advisor for the Outdoor Swimming Society and a Director at Mental Health Swims. He is a consultant anaesthetist at Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals who, accidentally and via quite unrelated routes, has developed an interest in the negative effects of getting cold during surgical operations and the positive effects of cold-water swimming.

His professional life and his PhD are based around keeping patients warm. However, his research increasingly involves immersing people (and himself) in cold water in collaboration with the Extreme Environments Laboratory at Portsmouth University. His new book, Chill: The Cold Water Swim Cure, was published this summer and should be on every cold water swimmers’ bookshelf.

Watch our Winter Swimming Q&A

During our virtual patron event, Mark touched upon his ‘six rules of cold water swimming’; how long the psychological benefits last after swimming; why we get cold quicker when we haven’t had much sleep; tips for preventing swimming-induced pulmonary edema (SIPE) and his issue with extreme methods such Wim Hof’s.


The virtual event follows on from our interview with Mark in the October edition of Outdoor Swimmer. In conversation with Editor Ella Foote, Mark talks about why cold water swimming feels so good, how it benefits our physical and mental health, and why we always need to pee so badly when we first get into cold water.

Read our interview with Dr Mark Harper, “Combinatory Play leads to cold water cure”, in our October issue (on sale now). Chill: The Cold Water Swim Cure is published by Chronicle Books and is available now. Find out about becoming an Outdoor Swimmer patron and joining us for future virtual events.