24 October 2022

The Positive Effects of Cold Water Swimming

One doesn’t have to look far at the moment to come across the multiple benefits of cold water swimming. In this blog we are going to let you know how important those benefits are at the moment in this changing and strange world we are living in.

 Immune System Improvements

The best way to protect oneself from any disease is to enhance one’s immune system. Wim Hoff who is a pioneer in the study of cold water swimming has been involved in many experiments involving immunity and cold exposure.

There are a multitude of mechanisms involved in cold-induced immune enhancement, not least an increased white blood cell count, increased T-cell count, greatly reduced inflammation markers, and significantly increased anti-inflammatory markers. These all make for a more COVID-resistant body!

There has also been further research recently to suggest the more often one swims in cold water the better the effects, almost as if the effects were accumulative. I.e. By forcing the body to adapt to these new conditions, you encourage it to be quicker to activate its internal defences for an illness or issue. That’s pretty comforting when there’s COVID-19 going around, isn’t it?

Improves Mental Health

Mental health and resilience is also something that is being tested at the moment. Humans crave humans and social distancing does nothing for our state of mind. 

Believe it or not, this is an area cold water swimming can also help with. The reasoning behind this is two-fold. 

  1.  A sudden change in temperature, enough to generate a flight response provides two different hormones. The first is cortisol, which is a stress hormone, and it helps with the flight response. The second is a series of beta-endorphin hormones to provide pain relief and euphoria. Hence, if you stay in long enough and can outlast the fight or flight response you will trigger the second wave of hormones and experience a post-swim high. 
  2. The second is to do with something called “cross-adaption”. This refers to a phenomenon where inducing a stressful yet controlled situation will help your body become accustomed to stressful situations hence mediating and future hormonal response to stressful situations.

Other Benefits

Of course, these aren’t the only benefits which can come from cold water swimming. There’s a plethora of other benefits to reap which are just as unexpected and intriguing. Increased energy, higher levels of focus, better sleep, reduced stress, greater tolerance to the cold, faster recovery times, and increased willpower to name a few. Please carry on the research and let us know how it makes you feel!