All You Need to Know about Swimming in Cold Water

Swimming in a lake, pool or pond while it is at a cold temperature has been found to be very helpful for maintaining your long-term health. It can be an exciting and exhilarating activity. However, it may also be dangerous; hence, doing it right is also important. Read on to know to the various advantages of taking a plunge in cold water and what precautions you need to take while doing so.

Benefits of Swimming in Cold Water

  1. It helps in boosting your immunity

Researchers from Czech Republic did a study on few subjects. In this study, the subjects were immersed in cold water for a duration of an hour thrice a week. The researchers monitored the physiology of these subjects. It was found that factors related to immune system were increased in these subjects and cold water was attributed to as the cause of this increase. Hence, gradually over time, the body gets better at using its defenses. This is the reason why swimmers who swim in cold water rarely get sick.

  1. It releases endorphins

Cold water stimulates your parasympathetic nervous system that helps in repair and rest. Due to stimulation of parasympathetic nervous system the release of endorphin-serotonin and dopamine may also be triggered. These are neurotransmitters that keep you happy and their low levels are associated with depression. When you enter cold water, there is an endorphin rush, which makes you happy and alive.

  1. It improves your blood circulation

According to evidence, your body is adapted to cold when it is exposed repeatedly and the circulation to the extremities and the core may be improved. Swimming in cold water helps in flushing your circulation as the blood is pushed through all the capillaries, arteries and veins. Various responses of breathing and heart are triggered due to quick initial cooling of skin. There is a sudden increase in breathing rate. The heart rate may be raised by 50% while the blood pressure may increase to 176/94. Though these changes may put strain on your heart, if you are healthy and fit, they are not supposed to cause any problem; but if you are suffering from hypertension or heart disease, these changes may prove to be dangerous.

  1. It helps in improving libido

Traditionally cold water has been used as a method to suppress sexual urge. However, as a matter of fact, libido is actually increased by cold water. Immersing in cold water enhances the production of testosterone in men and estrogen in women; thereby, enhancing libido and fertility in both men and women. Due to increased libido an individual has improved self esteem, more confidence and improved mood.

  1. It increases metabolism and burns more calories

While you are swimming in cold water, your heart has to pump quicker and your body has to work harder so as to keep your body warm. In other words, your metabolism and blood circulation is increased to generate more internal heat so as to keep your body warm. Hence, your body will burn more calories in comparison to swimming in warmer conditions. This is the reason why people who swim in cold water are usually thin.

  1. It reduces stress

When you swim in cold water, your body is put under mental and physical stress. With practice you are able to handle both and become stronger. It has been found that swimmers who swim in cold water are more relaxed and calmer naturally. When faced with adversity they appear stronger. Furthermore, for taking a dip in cold water, you have to go to a local lake or pond or sea, which are usually surrounded by greenery. Gradually, being in nature will reduce your levels of stress and also your risks of developing mental illness and depression.

  1. It reduces pain

As cold water swim improves blood circulation, the inflamed areas in the body heal quickly; thereby, causing less pain.

Tips to Follow and Precautions to Take

How to Acclimatize Your Body

  1. Do warm-up for at least 10-15 minutes: It is imperative that you warm up your muscles and pump your heart before you enter cold water. You can do brisk walking, jogging or jump rope.
  2. In case you feel stiff, do stretching: If you feet tight before doing warm up, you can begin with stretching your body.
  3. Go in the water deep up to waist and blow out bubbles: Making your face acclimatized with the temperature of water will help in regulating heart rate. When you are inside water up to your waist, take your face inside and blow out air via your mouth. Take out your face after around 30 seconds and repeat.
  4. Don’t dive in cold water as this may result in hypothermia, which can be fatal.
  5. Raise the time you are in cold water gradually: Your body takes some time to get used to cold water. Get training sessions to increase the time of your stay in cold water. Initially you may remain in water below 21 degree Celsius (or 70 degree F) for one minute.
  6. Train 3-4 times each week to acclimatize: Do training consistently. Do 20-30 minute sessions 3-4 times a week. However, you can keep the sessions short if your body is still acclimating. Get out of water if you notice that you are having difficulty breathing or your body is getting blue or white.
  7. Use an ice bath for training: Add some ice to your bath tub and check temperature using a thermometer.
  8. Use hot drink and clothing to warm up: Avoid getting in a hot shower or a sauna after swimming in cold water.

Wear Essential Gear

  1. Wear a cap to prevent escape of heat via your head.
  2. Choose swimming suits, caps, socks and gloves made of neoprene.
  3. Put earplugs as they help in retention of heat.
  4. Wear a wetsuit (full-body) when swimming in temperatures below 21 degree Celsius (70 degree F).
  5. When swimming in water with a temperature between 9 degree Celsius and 16 degree Celsius (48 degree F and 60 degree F) or lower, wear extra accessories such as socks, gloves and booties made from neoprene. These will prevent your hands and feet from becoming numb.
  6. For extreme temperatures, choose wetsuits that are thicker. Check with your local sports store to find wetsuits that are designed especially for the range of temperature in which you have to swim. 
Current time: 07/15/2024 04:09:36 am (America/New_York) Memory usage: 1320.29KB