Winter swimming becomes more and more popular each year. AquaLife has already hosted a camp in ice swimming in the Black Sea and our compex has everything for such a camp including two saunas and a special menu for the swimmers. In this article we explore the aspects of the cold swimming.
In the depths of winter we all look for the well-being and many of us are seeking for the remedy from depression. Here the benefits of winter swimming are incontestable.
Nowdays the benefit of cold water swimming has been proved in practice and is evidence-based.
Cold water swimming cures a bunch of problems, from aches and pains to feeling down, from depression and fatigue to headaches.
The «feel good» effects after one’s immersion in the icy water are a result of the body releasing the so-called «happy» hormones, endorphins, the body’s natural pain killers.
This kind of swimming made the body produce more of the mood-balancing hormone serotonin along with dopamine, the neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers, and oxytocin, also known as the «love hormone.»
In addition a bevy of spinoff effects for cold water swimming, including enhanced blood circulation, a boosted immune system and an increase in calories burned.
Another bonus: Many ice swimming devotees follow up their dip with a sweat in the sauna, which not only helps to relax the mind and body but also to release toxins. Increased circulation and improved cardiovascular health are two other sauna benefits.
A Helsinki-based author and journalist, Pantzer believes swimming in the sea almost every day in Finland, all year round is one of the reasons why Finland ranks as the happiest country in the world. It helps make the winter more bearable. After an icy swim, she feels invigorated and happy. She has more energy and sleeps better, too. «Your survival mechanisms spring into action in cold water as you need to be present to counteract them with tranquility. And it helps to balance a stressful life by bringing you into close contact with nature.»
Michael Tipton, a professor at the department of sport and exercise science at the University of Portsmouth, said: “For years we worried more about the dangerous aspects of cold water immersion rather than thinking about the beneficial side.”
Those aspects undoubtedly should be considered The body’s initial response to immersion in cold water is an immediate cooling of the skin, which results in cold water shock. This can be extremely dangerous, especially for those with certain medical conditions, as it leads to a massive increase in breathing and heart rate. However, consulting to the doctors you can adapt to this unusual activity without taking a risk. .
Tipton added that there is evidence that cold is anti-inflammatory and a recent study found that cold water swimming led to improvements in patients experiencing post-operative pain.
Cold water swimming also activates stress responses in the body, and repeated exposure to cold water can result in a process of adaptation called habituation. One theory is that if you adapt to cold water, you also blunt your stress response to other daily stresses such as road rage, exams or getting fired at work.
After all cold swimming is not only curative, but it’s also highly social. Physical activity plus social interaction is the best remedy for body and mind.
Photos by International Winter Swimming Association