Every Christmas when I’m back in Devon I join in the Xmas Day swim. It’s absolutely freezing (Santa hats for warmth only) and maybe slightly crazy, but I love it and definitely deserve Christmas lunch afterwards!
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.
Research has shown that open water swimming may help boost your immunity. Taking a plunge into cold water has been found to be like a shock attack on your body with it responding by producing white blood cells to deal with the attack. Closely related to boosting immunity is improving blood circulation. The heart reacts to extreme conditions like cold by pumping more blood to the organs which will help improve the circulation in the body.
Furthermore, a swim in cold water has been found out to increase the sex hormone, which is testosterone for men and oestrogen 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 endorphins by the body, which is the body’s natural painkiller that it uses to help the skin handle the bite from the cold.
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.
If these health benefits haven’t spurred you on already…swimming is one of the best all round cardiovascular exercises, as it uses all the main muscle groups and burns a great deal of calories. 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. So with more than 200 outdoor swimming clubs around the UK why don’t you look into one?
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