The benefits of cold water swimming
Improved metabolism and circulation
Swimming in cold water has the natural effect of causing your heart to pump faster – your body has to work harder to stay warm. This in turn burns through more calories, and means that while you’re in the water, your metabolic rate is higher than it would be normally.
Supports and improves mental health
Studies have shown that regular cold water swimmng or immersions can improve your overall mental health. The discipline teaches resilience, deep breathing and can bring about an enhance mood by the release of dopamine and endorphins.
A boosted immune system
As a result of a sudden change in temperature, your body will release a higher than average amount of white blood cells, which help fight infection. What’s more, a gradual introduction to starkly changing conditions will help your body to build stronger natural defences over time.
Although cold water acts as a stressor, one of the key benefits is thought to be the mind-body benefit of learning to embrace and deliberately tolerate the cold. When we tell our conscious mind that we are choosing exposure to cold water, and we stay in, even when there is a stress response, we start to exert top-down control over that response. This control can spill over into other areas, making us more resilient and better able to cope with other sources of stress. We are less likely to feel overwhelmed, and more likely to see difficult situations as achievable challenges.