We say "we do some warm-ups before playing tennis" or "we warm up before that".

But, before we swim, we need to rub or pour some cold water on our body so that it gets used to the cold temperature.

Do we say "We do some cool-downs or we cool down before swimming"?

Some people say I can use "acclimatise/acclimatize", but I am looking for a common everyday term

  • 1
    putting cold water on your body before swimming is not a cool down. We actually say: splash cold water on yourself so you can get used to it. No one would say acclimatize there.
    – Lambie
    Sep 5, 2020 at 16:45

2 Answers 2


"Cool down" is sometimes used for "gentle exercises at the end of an intense exercise:

I ran 5k in 21 minutes, then I did a cool-down jog back home.

In you example I'd probably use "get used to", just like you did.

Before you swim, it's a good idea to pour some cold water on your body to get used to the temperature.

It's not that cold, once you get used to it!

(Cultural point: in the UK, swimming pools are usually heated and you can jump straight in. Coldwater swimmers often wear a wetsuit, again there is no need to acclimatise. I've never seen a recommendation to rub water on your body before swimming.)

  • All indoor pools are heated in winter, not just in the UK. Swimmers do splash the pool water on themselves sometimes before going all the way in, in winter. And in the ocean, if the water is cool, I often splash it on my arms and/or neck before going all the way in. However, I would call this: getting used to it and would never use a quasi-technical word like acclimatise.
    – Lambie
    Sep 5, 2020 at 16:48
  • 1
    It is quite possible in Viet nam (the OPs home country) which is tropical, most pools are unheated.I don't know. I'm sure people do splash water, but I've never known it to be a specfic recommended routine.
    – James K
    Sep 5, 2020 at 18:09
  • Pools in tropical places are warm. I know, I was raised in the tropics. You just jump or dive in. The OP is referring to places where the water is cold.
    – Lambie
    Sep 6, 2020 at 14:41

warm-ups are typically done before doing some kind of exercise, usually exercise that is quite strenuous.

cool-downs are typically less strenuous exercises done after strenuous exercise to bring the heart rate back to normal.

Re the pool and water thing: If water is quite or very cold in a pool or the sea, a swimmer may very well splash water on his/her torso and/or neck and arms in order to get used to the water temperature. I often do this and I would never use the word acclimatize to describe it. acclimatize is quite technical and/or literary.

  • He moved to X in the 1950's but was never able to acclimatize himself to the place.

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