Chronic Low Body Temperature - is it a risk?

ttriventtriven Senior Member
edited November 2014 in General Discussion
I've never seen a discussion here about one's own body temperature affecting a swim. For several years I have had a low body temperature. My thyroid tests normal (just using a complete blood count). I often wonder how risky it is for me to swim in cold water. My body temp averages about 96.7, sometimes lower (as low as 95.6, as high as 97.7). I catch colds very easily, and I have very unscientifically surmised it is related to my body temp. I rarely get a "fever," even if I have an infection. I currently have mild sinusitus with chills and aches and a "high" temp of 97.7. No doctor has ever commented on it, even when asked. But I wonder, if we start to worry at 95 body temp in cold water, how long can I really last? How closely do I need to be watched? I haven't been able to find anything on it. Last winter my coldest swim was 56 F, for 2 hours. Claw hand at 1 hr 45 min. I'm hoping to get my core temps up somehow before the water cools off here. I have an upcoming accupuncture appt in December. Any insight or advice?


  • swimmer25kswimmer25k Charter Member
    I've done some training and race swims where the water had us swimming in the death zone. Lac St Jean had me at a our 94 degrees. I could tell that something was up (more like down) , but it never got to me. With about 1000 to go, my trainer asked my phone number. I said "911". Evidently that counted and i got to finish.

    When I've coached, I've taken regular temps of the swimmer. Once things got down, I'd ask simple questions like the days date, phone number, favorite book, etc. of they ever failed, I pulled them out.
  • SydneDSydneD Senior Member
    I have a chronically low temperature too. It stays around 97 something, sometimes in the 96 range. And I rarely get fevers, even with infection. Instead, my temp tends to go down when I get sick. I also have chronic sinusitis and Raynaud's syndrome.

    I know that my cold water swim cut-off level is not as great as many swimmers. But that's okay. I'll just choose warm weather tropical locales and I'm totally fine with it. As is my family. ;)

    No advice for you. Just empathy.
  • dpm50dpm50 PA, U.S.Senior Member
    My temp runs low also, around 96.5-97.5, but most swims I've done are in relatively warm water (mid/high 60s at lowest), so I can't say it's ever been an issue. Near the end of the 5.4 mile swim (my longest so far--not sure of temperature, but guessing around low 70s), I felt mildly chilly but not to the point where I wished I'd worn a wetsuit (I'm avoiding wetsuits, in fact, so as not to get too used to them). But I chalked it up to fatigue, not low body temp.

    This topic is of interest to me b/c I want to do the Boston Light Swim, which is in colder water than I've been in, except for very short stretches during Outward Bound courses--wondering if warm/hot liquids would help with this issue?
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