Believe it or not there are some great benefits to performing cold water swimming! Here is a brief summary:
1. It boosts your immune system
The effects of cold water on the immune system have been studied widely. Cold water helps to boost the white blood cell count because the body is forced to react to changing conditions. Over time, your body becomes better at activating its defences.
2. It gives you a natural high
Cold water swimming activates endorphins. This chemical is what the brain produces to make us feel good during activities. Cold water swimming is also a form of exercise, and exercise has been proven to treat depression. Cold water swimming brings us close to the pain barrier. Endorphins are released when we’re in pain, to help us cope with it.
3. It improves your circulation
Cold water swimming flushes your veins, arteries, and capillaries. It forces blood to the surface and helps to warm our extremities. Repeated exposure adapts us to the cold.
4. It increases your libido
Cold water was traditionally seen to repress sexual urges. The fact is that it increases libido! A dip in some cold water boosts oestrogen and testosterone production, adding an edge to fertility and libido.
The benefits of increased libido include more confidence, higher self-esteem, and enhanced mood.
5. It burns calories
The heart has to pump faster in cold water and the body must work harder to keep everything warm while swimming. Overall, far more calories are burned during cold water swimming than swimming in warmer conditions. The idea that drinking cold water increases the number of calories you burn may be a myth, but it is a fact that cold water decreases your body temperature so much that the body must act.
6. It reduces stress
Cold water swimming places stress on the body physically and mentally. Many studies have identified the link between cold water and stress reduction. Cold water swimmers become calmer and more relaxed.
7. It is a great way of socialising and making new friends
There is a great sense of community and camaraderie amongst cold water swimmers. There is nothing that brings people together like facing a challenge and sharing the experience as a group.
There are ongoing studies into the effects of cold-water swimming and menopause. The difficulty is that it is difficult to prove that it is specifically the cold water that is having the positive effect – as the aspects of socialising and doing exercise will both improve general health and wellbeing. What’s not to like?
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