It’s a well-known fact that it’s harder to stay healthy in winter. From the stodgy puddings with custard, to the tubs of Quality Street that disappear in a day, to the rich fruit cake and festive cream topped hot chocolates, there are plenty of things that make it a decadent and indulgent time of year. Furthermore, the dark morning and even darker nights make getting out of the house a trial, make exercise feel like a burden, and make the weeks drag on until spring rears its welcome head. You may be thinking of ways to stay fit and healthy in order to combat the winter blues or simply stay focused throughout the dark, cold months. It may not be your first choice, but have you thought about wild swimming?
While the idea of going for a dip may sound like a great one in the heat of summer, it’s likely not what many people want to do in the depths of winter. The icy cold water beneath moody and cloudy skies may not hold much appeal, but the benefits may have you thinking otherwise. Surprisingly, winter swimming is actually growing in popularity. Travel experts like Luxury Coastal even work to compile some of the best places to go for a wintery dip. Many people sing the praises of cold water swimming for its many benefits, both physically and mentally. While it’s essential that you take the necessary health and safety precautions to ensure that all goes to plan, there are many advantages to be had from an icy swim. If you are still feeling a little apprehensive, let’s consider a few of these benefits to see if you can be convinced.
The Benefits of
1. It’s good for building a strong immune system.
In the winter, our immune systems need to be at their strongest in order to fight off the many bugs and viruses that our bodies come up against. The crucial key players in fighting off viruses are your white blood cells. Cold water can actually boost the count of white blood cells in your body, meaning a wintery dip can do great things to your immune system.
2. It’s good for your circulation.
The natural reaction of your body to cold water will do great things for your circulation too. In order to maintain your normal body temperature, the circulation on your body’s surface will become restricted causing the blood in your deeper tissues to ramp up its circulation rate. The increase in circulation rate further works to exfoliate your skin and flush impurities from it. With repeated exposure, your body adapts to the cold, and this can improve your circulation too.
3. It’s good for losing weight.
Swimming is a great exercise for your whole body to begin with regardless of the temperature. However, in colder waters, your body will have to work even harder to keep you warm so that means you will burn more calories than if you went for a more comfortable swim at the local leisure centre.
4. It’s good for your mind.
A freezing cold dip will really get your endorphins going, meaning you’ll feel an epic natural high after a winter swim. Endorphins are your body’s way of dealing with pain, so to keep the sting off your skin as you hit the cold water, these endorphins will get to work giving you a natural high at the same time. While endorphin levels go up, levels of cortisol (the hormone that induces stress) go down. The exposure to cold water also reduces your heart rate, bringing you a feeling of calm. Basically, all your body can do is focus on how cold it is, leaving no room for any worries or anxieties!