5 Benefits of Getting Cold (temporarily!)
Whether you’re a surfer jumping in for hours or a wild dipper swimming for less than 10 minutes, that uncomfortable yet exhilarating feeling of cold water immersion is better for you than you may realise. Read on to find out more.
1 The Mental Benefits
When you let cold water wash over you, be it outside in the sea, a river or a lido, or even indoors in the shower or bath, your mind will physically (and thankfully!) not be able to focus on your to-do list, anxieties or daily pressures. Plus, the dedication that it takes to withstand the cold water is a win in itself! The initial discomfort can be quite tricky to handle so it's something to be proud of. By noticing your success, this ‘reward’ feeling will release dopamine in your body; a total happiness hack.
2 The Mind Benefits
Not only is cold water swimming good for your mood, your skin and your fitness, but it’s been discovered that it may hold the key to curing dementia. Researchers from Cambridge University concluded that cold water swimming may protect the brain from degenerative diseases like dementia, as they found a ‘cold-shock’ protein in the blood of regular outdoor winter swimmers. Obviously, sudden and lengthy exposure to cold water by someone who isn’t used to it can be dangerous, but in the right doses, it could end up being proven as a life saver.
3 The Immunity and Inflammation Benefits
Exposure to the cold is like a natural anti-inflammatory. The cold air and water of winter acts like a natural ice-pack, therefore decreasing swelling in aching joints. Our immune systems are also kicked into gear when it gets cold, therefore helping you fights off nasty illnesses in the winter.
4 The Metabolism Benefits
When it’s cold our bodies use more energy to keep us warm. As it’s working harder to maintain your core temperature, it’s thought to burn more calories than exercising in a warm space. As long as you’re dressed appropriately (don’t get colder than necessary to try and burn fat!) your body will support you by keeping you warm whilst you exercise.
5 The Community Benefits
Find your tribe! Birds of a feather flock together, and you’ll probably meet like-minded, adventure-loving people taking part in cold water activities too. Whether you’re used to swimming and surfing with friends, or you often take part in the activities alone, you’re unlikely to be lonely at the lake, lido, beach or river if you’re in search of a cold water friend.
The benefits of cold water immersion are ten-fold, and above are only a few reasons why we love stripping off and diving in. Just make sure you remember your Dry-Series, a hat, a flask of tea and appropriate dipping kit. To learn more about cold water safety in winter, click here.