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Why Cold Water is Good for You

Mountain Oceans

Cold water could save your life – here’s why…

If someone told you there were benefits to stripping off in Winter, heading out to a local lake and smashing through the patina of ice to create your own bathing pool, you’d probably think they’d lost it. However, the scientific verdict has been in for a long time now and it’s official that swimming in cold water is good for you. All those many years of hydrotherapy have delivered us to the realisation that time spent swimming outdoors is time well spent. Lakes, lidos, ponds and oceans are all good for you, offering various significant physical and mental benefits, some of which we’ll go into now:

Reason One – It Helps To Toughen You Up

Swimming outdoors is one sure way for you to boost your immune system and protect yourself from illness. All that stuff about swimming in cold water and getting the flu might hold some weight, but generally speaking your body reacts to the change in temperature as though it’s being attacked. This helps your immune system to tighten the screws on its defences and polish those vital weapons used in the fight against illness. Recently, in the Czech Republic, a group of scientists discovered significant increases in the white blood cell counts of subjects after they’d been immersed in cold water for an hour. The cold water had become a stressor used to boot the immune system into action.

Reason Two – Nothing Beats That Post-Swim Endorphin Rush

Every cold water swimmer will tell you about the ‘high’ they get soon after they leave the water. This isn’t exaggeration – it’s scientifically proven. Cold water supplies swimmers with a visceral sense of wellbeing that’s at once but intense and addictive. The body is serviced by these natural pain killers called endorphins that take the edge off our anxieties and depression. Bathing in cold water spurs endorphins into action and quickly gets rid of the sting that clings to your skin after you climb out. Two of the primary causes of this endorphin rush are pain and orgasm. The cold is also proven to activate your parasympathetic system, which is commonly associated with rest and repair, triggering the sweet release of dopamine and serotonin. So, next time you leave the cold water glowing and smiling, remember that there’s a reason why you feel this good.

Reason Three – Get In Great Shape

One of the best known benefits of swimming in cold water is that it helps you to burn calories, hone and strengthen your physique. Swimming, no matter where you are, is great exercise and the cold water makes your body work twice as hard as you’re forced to keep yourself warm. During a cold swim fat becomes your primary source of energy and as your work rate increases so too does your metabolism.

There are many other reasons why wild swimming could improve your physical and mental health. One of the lesser known benefits is it actually improves your sex life, enhances your libido, supplying you with the hormones need for increased fertility. Finally, the cold also gets the blood pumping and allows it to circulate quickly to your organs. This increased blood flow rushes blood through your capillaries, veins and arteries, flushing your system.

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