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Here Is Why You Should Keep Swimming Through Winter

Here's Why You Should Keep Swimming Through Winter

With outside water temperatures creeping downwards with the winter weather, the indoor heated swimming pools become more tempting. So why do some swimmers continue to plunge into the open water throughout the cold weather? Here are some reasons why you should keep swimming through winter.

 

Physical Benefits

It can help your immune system? That’s right. It has been suggested that consistent and short immersions in cold water may help our immune system. It’s generally accepted that sitting in an ice bath provides a sporting benefit – or else lots of professional athletes simply like to torture themselves. Applying this logic to cold water swimming suggests that engaging in winter swimming and dipping is also beneficial - though still not scientifically conclusive.

Although this shouldn’t be a primary reason to go cold water swimming, it could be a side benefit. Swimming in cold water takes a lot of energy, both during the swim and afterwards.

Swimming in cold water also can help with inflammation. The low blood flow to your limbs decreases inflammation and allows muscles to recover much quicker. A bracing dip can give you all the benefits of an ice bath.

 

Mental Health Benefits

Submerging yourself in cold water is not everyone's cup of tea. The temperature of the water creates a stress reaction in the body, the same kind of reaction we experience if we find ourselves in a scary or tense situation. The body releases the stress hormone cortisol and breathing frequency and heart rate increases. The body’s fight or flight mechanism kicks in, explaining why the natural reaction to getting into cold water is to want to get out as fast as possible. 

The process of forcing yourself to stay in cold water could be increasing your mental strength. Getting out of your comfort zone builds confidence and courage as well as giving you a sense of accomplishment. 

There is now evidence to suggest that repeatedly putting your body through cold water immersion gradually reduces the severity of the initial stress reaction. It has been shown that your general stress also is reduced, such as taking an exam or bungee jumping.

 

It’s Fun and Inclusive!

Many cold water swimmers will say that they continue to swim throughout winter because it’s fun and people of all shapes and sizes enjoy winter swimming. Why not give it a go?

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