Talk to any open-water swimmer and they will likely wax lyrical about the Benefits of Cold-water Swimming, frequently in remote settings such as lakes or rivers. Swimming in cold water in a pool, such as a lido, throughout the winter or early spring will reap the advantages as well.
Jane McCormick of Nike Swim is a member of the World Record English Channel two-way crossing relay squad as well as a Swim England Level 2 coach at Open Swim UK. She discusses five major Benefits of Cold-water Swimming in her article.
Here are the 10 Health Benefits of Cold-water Swimming;
1. Higher metabolic rate
‘When you swim outside, your body needs to work hard just to remain warm,’ McCormick adds. As a result, you burn more calories. The colder the water, the more difficult it is for your body to convert fat to energy. When combined with your swim training, the calorie burn may be greatly boosted.’
2. Improved circulation
‘When we leap into cold water, the abrupt temperature shift signals to our heart to pump more blood to our organs,’ McCormick explains. ‘As a consequence, circulation improves and toxins are pushed out of our system more easily, leading to cleaner skin and a healthier glow.’
3. Stress reduction and improved mood
‘All exercise helps raise the creation of your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins, which improve our mood and help us deal with stress and worry,’ adds McCormick.
Swimming’s rhythmic motion will assist dispel any stressed sensations as you concentrate on your body’s activity,’ she says. ‘When you glide over the water, it’s almost like a conscious meditation practice. Additionally, as you submerge yourself in cold water, you will experience a stinging sensation on your skin, which your body will counteract by creating even more endorphins, which will cause a sense of happiness after you exit.’
4. Improved sleep
‘If you swim in open water on a regular basis, you will notice that your sleep improves,’ says McCormick. ‘This is due to the fact that cold water activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which allows your body to relax and repair itself. This encourages relaxation and tranquillity, which should lead to a better night’s sleep.’
5. Improved immune system
The other benefits of Cold-water Swimming are ‘When you constantly immerse yourself in cold water, you will feel cold water shock,’ McCormick adds (more on that later). ‘This shock may jump-start the immune system, causing more white blood cells and antioxidants to be produced, which have been shown to strengthen your immune system and decrease ailments ranging from the common cold to heart disease.’
‘The Benefits of Cold-water Swimming are enormous,’ she explains. ‘The sensation of ease floating in the sea; the freedom; the sense of being one with nature. I swim with other swimmers in quiet coves off the coast of North Devon. My most memorable experience was an evening swim with a group in the dark, beneath a full moon, admiring the bioluminescence (sparkles on the water’s surface when you disturb it). Then there’s the campfire and baked marshmallows!’
6. You will train more effectively.
The British Triathlon Union states that a “normal reaction to immersion in cold water might include artery constriction.” This, like using an ice pack, may aid in the prevention of bruising, swelling, and waste tissue build-up after an accident or sprain. Cold water training as part of triathlon training may also aid with soreness reduction. According to a Cochrane Library research, 360 participants who submerged themselves in cold water after cycling or jogging saw a reduction in the development of delayed muscle soreness.
Yet, as Caroline Bramwell, seasoned triathlete and author of Loo Rolls to Lycra, argues, the thrill and benefits of Cold-water Swimming much surpass the pain of entering the water.
7. boost libido
Not just because of the swimwear (honestly, invest in a wetsuit, come on). Cold water immersion, according to research conducted by the UK’s Thrombosis Research Centre there are too many benefits of Cold-water Swimming it stimulates testosterone levels, which in turn improves desire in males. Although it may not work as well in women, the shock of the cold is sure to increase energy levels and produce endorphins, leaving you feeling quite fantastic anyway.
8. You will get fitter.
Pushing yourself to perform under hard circumstances, such as exercising in an altitude chamber, will drive your body to adapt fast. The cold will make breathing more difficult, requiring you to maximize the little oxygen you can take in, making you more adaptable to stressful situations. In contrast, returning to the neighborhood indoor pool will be a piece of cake.
9. You will experience mental peace.
The bulk of the UK’s outdoor lidos are situated in magnificent parks and are surrounded by acres of vegetation, allowing you to find some peace and quiet in the midst of busy cities and towns. Similarly, taking a plunge in the sea, or a nearby pond or lake (if it’s safe to do so) provides a pleasant break from swimming lengths at your local gym.
With time spent in nature shown to lower stress and the risk of developing depression and mental disease, doing your exercise outdoors is the ideal way to be nice to both your body and mind.
10. boost your metabolism
Your body has two forms of fat: brown and white. Nowadays, humans mostly store white varieties, but in our hunter-gatherer days, the balance was far more equitable. Cold water has been demonstrated in studies to activate the distinctive brown fat. Brown fat not only keeps you warm, but since its role is to elevate body temperature, it burns calories quickly and may help you lose weight.
There are many other Benefits of Cold-water Swimming.