It's the middle of winter, everyone is freezing but you decide to put on your wetsuit and dive into the lake that is bellow 3°C. What will happen? Believe it or not your immune system will be boosted, you will have a better sex life, your blood will circulate better and those are just a few of the health benefits of outdoor swimming.
An increasing number of people across the UK are ignoring the swimming pool and joining the Outdoor Swimming Society to enjoy swimming safely in the lakes, rivers and seas, mainly because of the health benefits.
You may wonder how this is possible but let us consider the different health benefits of outdoor swimming: Boosting your immunity: According to Czech Scientists a plunge into cold water is like a shock attack on your body and it responds by producing white blood cells to deal with the attack. The scientists studied subjects who were immersed in cold water for an hour everyday and it was discovered that their white blood cell count had increased along with their general immunity.
Improves Blood Circulation: Closely related to boosting your immunity, is blood circulation, your heart reacts to extreme conditions like cold by pumping more blood to your organs which will improve the circulation in your body thus serving as a flush system for your body ensuring that impurities are removed. The result of this will be a better glowing skin, which may be associated with slowing down the aging process.
Better Sex life: A swim in cold water has been found out to increase the sex hormone, that is testosterone for men and estrogen for women which translates to increased libido, in men it is also known to improve fertility.
In addition there is a high associated with a dip in freezing water, which is attributed to the production of endorphin by the body, which is the body's natural painkiller that it uses to help the skin handle the bite from the cold but this same endorphin is known to be released during sex. Translation would be outdoor swimming gives your body "orgasmic sweet pain".
Exercise: Swimming, be it in a pool or in the wild is exercise for your body. It works every single muscle in your body and burns a great deal of calories. But the fact that the swimming is done outdoors means the work done by your body is twice as much as in a pool since the body is trying to keep you warm. The result of this is better lung and heart function, improved muscle toning, and better body endurance.
Stress reliever: Outdoor swimming has a psychological effect that promotes a feeling of general well being which is essential in relieving stress, promoting a positive attitude which will boost energy levels and at times it has a placebo effect strong enough to promote healing of the body.
If you may not be brave enough to take the plunge into the freezing outdoors you can always start by taking a cold shower to simulate the feel of the open water temperatures.
Fear of open water swimming is normal at first. We have some great tips that could help you overcome these fears and get you out in the open as quickly as possible.