WELLNESS | 2 MIN READ
If you’ve noticed wild swimming, open water swimming or cold-water therapy gaining lots of media attention recently, then there is good reason for it. In a year when the world has become unstable and unbalanced, people are looking for new ways to realign their physical and mental health to cope with everything that is going on.
FACT | In a Dutch study*, researchers tested whether people could voluntarily influence their own immune response by practicing meditation, deep breathing, and cold water immersion techniques and found the results were positive.
The benefits from cold-water immersion don’t just provide relief from the traumas of 2020, but the long-term effects on the body have been scientifically proven for many years.
Dani Hope, Marketing Director of Lake District Hotels’ started wild swimming during lockdown in May 2020, and says “I’ve swam in Lakes in the past when I was training for a triathlon, but my reasons for getting in the water then were purely to tick that part of the competition off the list. Now that I’ve started swimming for pleasure and without the pressure of a competition, I find it much more enjoyable. I’ve started to get a craving for getting out in the cold water. I swim outdoors at least once a week and now we’re heading into winter my aim is to keep going for as long as possible with the hope that I will acclimatise to the cold water.”
“The motivation for getting into the water for me is the feeling of euphoria that I get after I’ve been swimming. I get a huge feeling of achievement and will power that makes me feel proud of myself for going outside of my comfort zone. I meet with a couple of friends and we make it a very social swim where we chat about the day we’ve had, but ultimately the days trials and tribulations seem to dissipate when we’re in the water as we appreciate seeing the mountains surrounding us from a different point of view.”
FACT | A 2009 research review* found that brief immersions (5 minutes) in water less than 15°C increased metabolism.
Why is wild swimming so good?
Cold Water Health Benefits:
- Less muscle soreness – improves recovery
- Reduces body pain and inflammation
- Boost your immune system
- Improve circulation
- Boost your brain power
- Potential weight loss (though not guaranteed) through improved metabolism
- ‘Cold adaptation’ – through repeated cold swimming it is possible to bring down blood pressure and cholesterol, reduce fat disposition, inhibit blood clothing and increase libido
- Good for the skin and hair
Cold Water Mental Health Benefits:
- Manage anxiety, stress and depression
- Increase alertness, clarity and energy levels
- Release endorphins (happy hormones)
- Feelings of euphoria and achievement and a sense of will power
- A sense of community – meet others who are swimming to have a lovely time
- Reconnecting with nature
Find out more about the benefits of cold-water swimming here: