Swimming is such a wide and big field that even veterans can find new things on it. One such thing that has been underground, but is gaining attention lately is Winter Swimming. You probably know of it, even if you don’t recognize the name. In this blog, we discuss what are the benefits of winter swimming.
Winter Swimming is one of the most interesting and fascinating fields in swimming. So it is with great pleasure that we get to talk about it today.
What is Winter Swimming?
Winter swimming is just swimming done in winter. It is characterized by the cold weather and the colder temperature of the water. Although most of the time, winter swimming is done in open water, swimming in pools and lidos, without any heaters, is also considered winter swimming.
There aren’t any precise parameters as to what is considered winter swimming. For example, some places see winters warmer than others summers. The idea behind winter swimming is essentially swimming in the cold.
One thing that might come to mind when hearing swimming in the cold is videos of people swimming on frozen bodies of water. That practice is known as Ice Swimming. You will see that most of the time, the terms ‘Ice Swimming’ and ‘Winter Swimming’ are used interchangeably.
What are the benefits of Winter Swimming?
But why? Why would people want to swim on extremely low temperature waters? Although most people who do winter swimming do it for the fun of it, there are some benefits of winter swimming.
Medical Benefits of Winter Swimming:
Now there are many things that can be included here. We will begin with the benefits of winter swimming for the immune system. Cold water has been shown multiple times to help boost the immune system. The details of this being an increased number of white blood cells.
We can and should mention the tremendous benefits of winter swimming for the circulation of the blood. By exposing yourself to the cold water, you force your body to gear up the blood circulation. Helping boost your blood circulation and giving it a long-lasting positive impact.
Then there is the burning of calories. Even some dietitians tell their customers to take cold showers as part of their diet. When exposed to the cold, the human body has to generate heat. That process is possible only by burning stored fat.
Add in the fact that you will be doing one of the most physically demanding sports, and the big picture starts to come together.
Increased libido, is one of those things that is nice to have… At least from time to time. This increase is going to impact your life by giving you increased self esteem, better mood, happier significant other, higher fertility (if you’re interested in that), and so on…
Psychological Benefits of Winter Swimming:
Speaking of better mood and increased self esteem. Benefits of Winter Swimming are shown to be present even in the psychological aspect.
Reduced stress is the major thing here. While a lot of people feel the stress of everyday life, winter swimming can help you cope with that. By putting your body into an actual, life or death type of stressful situations, other things then seem less stressful by comparison.
Here we can even add that benefits of winter swimming spread all the way to the philosophical side of things. A lot of people who participate in winter swimming, also seem to have a higher level of stoicism. Dealing with situations that life throws in a more rational way.
‘A natural high’ is a common way people refer to what winter swimming feels to them. Most people’s experience seems to back this up.
People who partake in winter swimming have reported a feeling of bliss and harmony while doing it.
This is thanks to the fact that winter swimming forces our body to release endorphins. Which technically are imaginary dolphins who help us cope with pain.
Still not convinced about winter swimming…
This is all fine and dandy, but I know that most of you are still thinking: “NO!” That is to be expected. Even if you are in a position where you feel very passionate about the idea of winter swimming, you will very soon realize that winter swimming is an acquired taste.
It is not going to be fun. It’s not like if you learn to enjoy it, you won’t feel the cold anymore. The cold will always be there, figuratively biting and punching you. Winter swimming isn’t about avoiding that. Winter swimming is all about that.
If you are considering giving it a try, keep safety in mind at all times. Open water swimming is dangerous as is, don’t complicate things any further. Start small and make sure to have experienced winter swimmers with you.
People who you trust should always be there close to you. There are also a lot of things that you need to know about warming up again, and how that should be done with care.
By no means is this a guide on how to do winter swimming. It is just a short introduction to it and to it’s benefits. Try talking with swimming professionals if you are truly willing to test winter swimming for yourself.