Winter is well on its way, which means not only colder weather but colder water temperatures and the start of the ice swimming season.
Ice swimming, officially defined as swimming in conditions of around five degrees C, has become hugely popular as many people don their swimming caps, goggles, costumes and thermal swim socks to brave the icy waters.
Whilst for some the thrill and feeling of the plunge is the appeal, there are a few potential benefits of getting that icy in a controlled, safe environment.
Swimming the cold weather, according to studies on cold-water exposure, activates the sympathetic nervous system and boosts noradrenaline and beta-endorphin.
If you ever took the ice bucket challenge or dunked freezing cold water over yourself, the rush you feel is caused by these mood chemicals being released, which has been linked to potential mental health benefits.
Whilst entering the water can be a rather big shock, some swimmers have reported feeling less pain, even if they suffer from chronic pain conditions after ice swimming.
Whilst this evidence is anecdotal, there is a connection to cryotherapy, a recuperation technique where athletes submerge themselves in ice-cold water for a few minutes at a time to reduce inflammation and promote healing through improving the circulation of blood around the body.
Burn More Calories
One side effect of improving circulation is that your body is working harder when swimming in near-frozen conditions than it would be normally, as your body is both swimming and keeping your body temperature up.
As a result, you burn off more calories for fewer reps.