This may come as a shock, but swimming in cold water is not as extreme as you might think. In fact, it can even be good for you. You don’t have to go for ice-cold water, either. Even cool water can be incredibly invigorating. No wonder this activity is gaining in popularity!
Benefits of swimming in cold water
Swimming in cold water has positive effects on blood circulation, the immune system, morale and pain in general.
In fact, cold water stimulates micro-circulation, helps to nourish and drain the cells, and improves flow to the organs. It also closes the pores of the skin, tones the muscles and activates the nervous system. As a result, it can reduce tension and fatigue, and even improve your mood. Swimming in cold water even causes the body to release pain-fighting endorphins.
Risks of swimming in cold water
Think swimming in cold water causes pneumonia? Think again. That being said, diving into a pool of icy-cold water isn’t recommended, either. Entering water that’s well below your body temperature can cause hydrocution (thermal shock), and extremely cold water can lead to hypothermia.
How to swim safely in cold water
To reap the health benefits of swimming in cold water, it’s important to take a few precautions:
- Start gradually and slowly increase the amount of time you spend in cold water.
- Take cold showers, which can help to increase your tolerance.
- To avoid thermal shock, wet the back of your neck with cold water before getting into the water. The neck contains very large vessels and numerous nerve commands, which inform the body of the water’s temperature.
- It’s ok to let your body shake when getting out of cold water. This is a normal reflex that helps to send blood flowing to the extremities to warm them up.
- Before trying cold water baths, get the OK from your doctor. It’s also important to know that this activity is not recommended for people with heart disease or untreated hypertension.
Swimming in cold water can be dangerous if you’re not used to it, but once your body has adapted, it can offer a number of interesting health benefits. It’s just a matter of being physically and mentally prepared. And on that note, have a refreshing swim!