What a way to start off the new year: taking a plunge into the very cold waters of Compo Beach.

This year's was a double event. At 10 a.m. was Team Mossman Triathlon Club's 10th annual plunge to benefit Save the Children Health and Educational programs. At 11, it was the sixth annual "Freezin' for a Reason" Polar Plunge.

Both groups plunge into Compo's icy waters. Air temperatures were in the upper 30s.

Here are a few practical tips to follow if you're doing the next plunge at Compo on March 9:

- Consider a pre-plunge dinner consisting of carbohydrates and fatty foods as an extra fuel is needed as the primary source of energy.

- Get to the event early to acclimate the body to the cold weather. Be sure to dress warmly until start time.

- Be sure leg muscles are stretched before the event to reduce cramping and chance of injury.

- Wear a hat. As much as 55 percent of body temperature is lost through the head.

- Use Vaseline on the body, which acts as insulation to the cold water.

- Change wet clothing quickly to avoid potential danger of frostbite and hypothermia.

- Enjoy a good, warm post-event meal. You will have surely earned it.

Dr. Robert Weiss is a Fairfield-native and has a sports-podiatry practice in Darien.