Most of us are probably well aware of the many health benefits swimming has to offer. And whether you enjoy visiting the beach with your family and friends, going to the community pool during summer, or swimming daily as a part of your exercise routine, you are surely able to see and feel all the advantages this activity has brought to your health and overall well-being. However, one type that has immensely grown in popularity over the years is cold water swimming.
If you’ve heard about it before then probably know what it is and are aware of the advantages it has to offer. If you have not, it simply entails going for a swim in a pool, the sea, a lake, or any other body of water when it is at its coldest.
It probably sounds impossible and like something you will never be willing to try, however, as unbelievable as it sounds, it actually has several health benefits. According to experts, it can greatly increase one’s life span and many cold water swimmers have confirmed that their quality of life has been improved drastically.
So, if this is something that has piqued your interest and you might consider giving it a try or would simply like to learn more about it, here are a few things you should know about this amazing activity.
Preparing before actually dipping into cold water isn’t necessarily something you have to do, but it is something that can help you enjoy your first-time experience a bit more. And no, preparation does not require sitting in a bathtub filled with ice but simply standing under a stream of cold water every day, for at least 30 seconds
By the end of the first week, you will already notice that the temperature doesn’t bother you any more since your body and mind will grow accustomed to it and used to the sensation.
If you are not an avid swimmer and only visit the pool a few times in the summer, you might want to consider going for a few swims to simply build your strength and endurance a bit. If you are unsure of your capabilities, you can even sign up for lessons.
Even though they are usually conducted in a group setting and at a set time, now you can employ the services of a Swimming Lessons Agency, especially if you are a busy person running on a tight schedule. These agencies will help you find an adequate coach and even let you pick a time and venue most suitable for you.
1. Improved Circulation
Since low temperatures constrict your blood vessels, it increases your heart rate and blood pressure. As a result, it greatly stimulates blood flow, forcing it to rush to the surface and surround your vital organs.
Additionally, it helps you adapt to low temperatures which is something that isn’t only beneficial when going for a chilly swim.
2. A Boost to Your Immune System
Your lymphatic system activity is boosted, greatly reducing the risk of infections and disease since the system is in charge of getting rid of bacteria, waste, and microbes that might be found in your cells. Subsequently, it triggers white blood cells much faster, forcing them to attack and destroy any harmful substances in the blood.
You can consider this activity as training your immune system to grow stronger over time, teaching your body to better activate and utilize its defenses in the future.
3. Burning Calories & Building Muscle
Since your heart rate is greatly increased, your body has to work much harder to keep itself warm. As a result, more calories are burned than going for a swim in better conditions. This is simply because the temperature is so low, your body cannot do anything else but act and use more energy than it normally would.
Pushing through the water helps you build and tone your muscles, increase endurance, and improve your overall strength. It is not only a great full-body workout but it also improves your posture, coordination, flexibility, and balance.
4. Stress Relief
Although it is a strenuous exercise that challenges you both mentally and physically, over time, it becomes a great stress reliever that also increases your tolerance and builds your mental strength. You will find yourself becoming much more relaxed and calmer and these are all things that will greatly benefit you in your daily life.
5. It Provides a Natural High
Our body releases hormones known as endorphins whenever we are distressed or in pain. They help reduce our perception of such sensations, minimizing discomfort in the process. They can also make you feel quite euphoric, excited, and generally great.
Just like with any sport, one should take safety measures and follow certain rules since they were placed there for a reason. Firstly, you should wear appropriate attire, anything that can help your body stay warm. This includes caps, wetsuits, booties, and anything in between.
Unless you have done it many times before, do not jump or dive into the water. Always go in slowly and let your body acclimatize to the temperature. Do not go swimming by yourself and only choose areas that are safe and easy to get out of. It is okay to try and push yourself but be aware of your limits and do not ignore the signs your body gives you.
Lastly, once you are out, do not immediately go under a hot shower since this can oftentimes be dangerous. Instead, bring warm clothes, something warm to wrap around yourself, and prepare a hot drink. Once you have warmed up enough, then you can go ahead and step into a hot shower.
There is a reason this activity has immensely grown in popularity in recent years and why more and more people are willing to give it a try. Although it sounds daunting, if you truly want to improve every aspect of your life, especially your health and well-being, consider taking a dip in any cold body of water. Just remember to be safe and prepared before going for a swim.