Jan 27, 2023 - Things to Do
Chicago Polar Plunge: Tips for first-timers
This Saturday marks the return of the Chicago Polar Bear Club's annual Polar Plunge, when hundreds jump in Lake Michigan at noon on Oak Street Beach to benefit local families in need.
What's happening: To help out first-time plungers, we asked for some tips from our favorite year-round swimmer and former WBEZ host Alison Cuddy. She recently wrote about her cold weather swimming and is now working on a book.
Pro tips: "Use the buddy system. The fun of the Plunge is both the sensation and the socializing, so bring a pal! You can also keep an eye out for each other."
- Acclimate. "Pause when you first get in or splash some water on your face so it isn't a total gut punch."
- Gear up. "If you want to make a habit out of cold water swimming or plunges, get some neoprene gear — a swim cap, thick gloves and booties — to protect your extremities from the cold and conditions on the shore."
- Relax. "Entering cold water makes you gasp and tense up. Try to take some deep breaths and settle into the water."
- Know your limits. "Everyone is different so pace yourself — a short dip is just fine. And if the water looks rough or the hawk is blowing hard, skip it!"
- Enjoy! "I swim year-round, because I love the lake. So take a moment to appreciate the awesomeness of Lake Michigan."
More Chicago stories
No stories could be found
Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Chicago.