Better fitness, mental calmness, losing weight, improved blood circulation are some of the benefits of cold water swimming. Whereas, on one side it leads to a better quality of life, it has also managed to increase the life expectancy of many regular cold water swimmers. Cold water swimming does not always have to take place during the cold weather. According to The International Ice Swimming Association, the water should be colder than 5 degrees Celsius for International competition. In this article, we will look at some of the health benefits of swimming in cold water.
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11 Amazing Health Benefits of Cold Water Swimming
Whenever we are stressed out, it almost seems next to impossible to feel better. But on the same side it is also important for us to reduce that ongoing stress, feel better about ourselves and more optimistic. There have been a number of studies linked to cold water and stress. Swimming in cold water places stress both mentally as well as physically on the body. Thus, you might have also noticed why cold water swimmers are naturally calm and more relaxed.
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Burns more calories
While some people believe that drinking cold water increases the number of calories one burns, others consider it as a myth. But the fact that cold water decreases the body temperature so much that the body has to act, is true. While swimming in cold water, the heart must beat faster and thus, the body has to work harder in order to keep everything warm. Therefore, you will burn comparatively more calories swimming in cold water than in hotter conditions.
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Higher endorphin release
Our brain releases endorphins to make us feel good about certain activities. These are released by the brain to cope up when one is in pain. Considering cold water swimming, it is also a form of an exercise which brings one close to the pain barrier. And for this reason, it is helpful in the release of endorphin.
There have been a number of studies which have shown that swimming in cold water helps to treat depression. Swimming in cold water activates the sympathetic nervous system and increases the noradrenaline and beta-endorphin blood levels. The same has also been shown to beneficially help in the functioning of heart.
Feel less pain
Cold water swimming helps to improve the blood circulation throughout the body, which allows the inflamed areas to heal more quickly, as per Rude Health’s Outdoor Swimming society. Thereby, you are likely to feel less pain not because you are too cold to feel anything but because your inflamed areas get healed.
You will get fitter
When I say that swimming in cold water is difficult, I mean it! It isn’t that easy when you push your body to perform in harsh conditions. Swimming in cold water makes breathing a lot difficult that leaves you with very little oxygen to take in. This makes your body more adept at adapting to such stressful conditions. So, the next time you will be training indoors, it is going to be a lot easier for you.
Increases the libido
So traditionally, cold water was considered as a mean to repress sexual urges. Well, cold water does give a boost to the estrogen and testosterone production, thus further adding on to fertility and libido. Increased libido is beneficial in a number of ways, including more confidence, enhanced mood and higher self-esteem.
Boosts the immune system
Have you ever wondered why cold water swimmers rarely fall sick? Well, there’s a reason to this. There have been a number of studies on the effects of cold water on the immune system. Cold water leads to a rise in the white blood cell count, when your body is forced to react to changing conditions. This further makes your body better at mobilizing its defences over the time.
Improves the blood circulation
Cold water swimming helps in pushing the blood through all the veins, capillaries and arteries. It thus exfoliates the skin by flushing out the impurities from it. It is also believed that over the time when you keep on exposing your body to the cold, it will eventually adapt to the changing conditions and improve the blood circulation. Apart from cold water swimming, one may also derive the same benefits by constantly switching from hot water to cold water and so on in the shower. Although that may not be more fun than swimming in cold water.
Supercharges the metabolism
Brown and white are the two types of fat in our body. As per the studies, cold water helps to activate the brown fat. It is beneficial in a number of ways. For instance, in keeping you warm and losing weight by burning calories at high rate. Earlier, the balance between the two fat was however much more even but now people stockpile the white fat and it is thus important to activate the brown fat as well, in order to achieve the balance once again.
Swimming outdoors in cold water not only brings a change in our regular workout schedule but it also creates a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment in our mind when we challenge our body to perform in such difficult conditions. This also adds a sense of adventure and helps one to attain that mental calmness every time by being kind to both body and mind.
In addition to making efforts on growing as a cold water swimmer, one must also ensure that they have a healthy and a well-balanced diet. Also, it does not mean that you have to rush through the process so as to become a better swimmer but you have to step into it slowly. For instance, you can begin by switching your shower into cold water for 30 seconds a day initially and by the end of the week, you can see yourself tolerating the same water temperature for even more time period.