Wondering what’s behind the cold water swimming craze? Many wild swimmers talk about the ‘high’ that they get from braving a cold dip, and this is definitely not to be sniffed at - cold water swimming has been shown to have numerous benefits on both mental and physical health. These are just a few of the main benefits of cold water swimming that make it worth the hype:
Did you know that taking a cold dip could actually help you scare off all those winter bugs? In fact, one of the main health benefits of cold water swimming is its role in boosting the immune system. It’s been suggested that the stress reaction caused by cold water immersion triggers an increase in white blood cell production. Over time, this helps to build up your body’s immunity against illnesses.
Athletes all over the world take ice baths to help their post-performance recovery as the cold temperature helps to reduce inflammation. The same science applies to swimming in cold water. Your body reacts to the cold by directing blood away from your extremities to protect the organs in your core. The reduced blood flow to your limbs reduces inflammation, helping muscles recover more quickly. It’s uncertain whether the benefits of cold water swimming could help reduce the pain associated with certain chronic conditions, however this is an ongoing topic of research.
When you swim in cold water, your body has to work harder to maintain its core temperature. This means that your heart rate increases, whilst your blood vessels constrict, helping to improve blood flow throughout your body. As a result of this, your heart gets a great workout, and the increased blood flow also helps to ‘flush out’ your blood vessels, removing impurities. This makes it a great full body workout.
The benefits of cold water swimming aren’t just physical, there are also many mental health benefits that are associated with this popular activity. One of the main mental health benefits of cold water swimming is its role in increasing the production of endorphins - these provide a natural high and make us feel good. This is why there are studies into how swimming in cold water may help to alleviate some of the symptoms of depression.
Nature is a natural stress-reliever, and one of the most obvious benefits of cold water swimming is that it provides an opportunity to escape from the chaos of everyday life and reconnect with nature. This can help to reduce stress levels whilst enhancing mindfulness. In addition to this, it’s been suggested that repeated exposure to cold water can help to improve both your physical and mental resilience by improving your body’s response to the stress hormone cortisol.
We’ve definitely established that there are numerous benefits of cold water swimming. In order to make the most of these benefits and enjoy this fun activity safely, it’s important to consider the following tips:
The new Garmin Descent MK3range has been so popular we sold out in the first week. Taking pre orders for our next delivery now, order soon to get your hands on the most exclusive dive computer this winter!