The effects of cold water on the immune system have been studied widely. Cold water helps to boost the white blood cell count because the body is forced to react to changing conditions. Over time, your body becomes better at activating its defences.
Endorphins are what the brain produces to make us feel good about certain activities. Coldwater swimming is a form of exercise, and exercise has been proven to treat depression. Coldwater swimming brings us close to the pain barrier. Endorphins are released when we’re in pain to help us cope.
Coldwater swimming is particularly helpful for endorphin release for this reason. Who can say no to a few extra endorphins?
Coldwater swimming flushes your veins, arteries, and capillaries. It forces blood to the surface and pushes the cold downwards.
In other words, it helps to warm our extremities.
Coldwater was traditionally seen to repress sexual urges. The fact is that it increases libido! A dip in some cold water boosts oestrogen and testosterone production, adding an edge to fertility and libido.
The benefits of increased libido include more confidence, higher self-esteem, and enhanced mood.
The heart has to pump faster in cold water and the body must work harder to keep everything warm while swimming. Overall, far more calories are burned during cold water swimming than swimming in warmer conditions.
The idea that drinking cold water increases the number of calories you burn may be a myth, but it is a fact that cold water decreases your body temperature so much that the body must act.
Stress is a demon in the modern world. When stressful times come, we are woefully unprepared for them. Reducing stress means you will feel better, you will feel more optimistic, and you will be more resilient when stressful times come along.
Coldwater swimming places stress on the body physically and mentally. Many studies have told us about the link between cold water and stress reduction. Coldwater swimmers are naturally calmer and more relaxed. They are stronger in the face of adversity.
There is a great sense of community and camaraderie amongst cold water swimmers. There is nothing that brings people together like facing a challenge and sharing the experience as a group.
There are ongoing studies into the effects of cold-water swimming and the menopause. The difficulty is that it is difficult to prove that it is specifically the cold water that is having the positive effect – as the aspects of socialising and doing exercise will both improve general health and wellbeing.