Our mental and physical health constantly changes, mostly due to factors beyond our control, such as stress from work, loss of a relationship, or suffering periods of ill health While being active can have a positive effect on both mind and body, getting up and moving can be easier said than done. However, the latest trend of cold water swimming (CWS) may just be what you were looking for, especially as it is a good way of reconnecting with nature and figuring out the limits of your body. Here are five benefits cold-water swimming can have on your mind and body.
Boosts your immune system
You may think that swimming in cold water would weaken your immune system, especially with cold You may think that swimming in cold water would weaken your immune system, especially with cold weather making you more susceptible to infections. However, scientists have found evidence that taking cold showers can increase the number of white blood cells in the body, which are responsible for stimulating the body’s immune response. CWS is also part of the Wim Hof Method, which aims to reconnect people with themselves and nature, through breathing, cold water, and commitment.
Reduce stress levels
Research has suggested that CWS can improve how we deal with stress, namely our fight-or-flight response and how we cope with a perceived threat. Unlike our ancestors who had to deal with physical threats, modern life can cause this primitive psychological response to overreact to a stressful situation, like dealing with a deadline or being stuck in traffic. When you first start CWS, putting your body through the cold temperatures can cause a distress signal and the fight-or-flight response, but as you swim more and more, you eventually reduce this response, says Psychology Today.
Improves body confidence
CWS, and exercise in general, can help with body confidence and help make you more comfortable in your skin. If you’re worried about how you look, then CWS is perfect, as it is just you and the sea, improving your confidence in general. Another way that swimming can improve your body confidence is the abundance of comfortable swimsuit choices, and Calypsa offers a range of swimwear options. Whether you are looking for tops and bottoms, tankinis, or dresses, there are inclusive sizes available to fit people from sizes 0 to 28.
CWS is an exhilarating experience and is thought to help the symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other mental illnesses. The BBC reported on a study from 2018, which found that immersing yourself in cold water and swimming in the sea can improve symptoms of persistent low mood. However, it’s also advisable to consult your GP to see if they can help as well as CWS, to help alleviate these negative symptoms.
Great way to socialize
Whether you’re an expert cold water swimmer or are just finding your feet, it is an excellent way to make new friends and socialize, especially if you get together a couple of times a week. It can also be a good way to set challenges, share these experiences and celebrate as a group.
CWS, and even swimming in general, can have a range of benefits on the human body, but more research definitely needs to be carried out into these benefits. If you’re wanting to get started, then you may need to talk to your GP beforehand, but the most important is to stay safe and know your limits.