There are a lot of reasons why cold water swimming seems like both an excellent and a terrible idea. I’ve always been intrigued by this, as I love to get into the water even when it feels a little bit crazy (rainstorms, not ideal conditions, late at night), and have decided there’s no time like 2020 to challenge my mind and body with this activity. The more I learn about cold water swimming, the more I think it’s a perfect fit for me - someone who experiences periods of sustained and high stress, loves water, and has a constant desire to push and use the power of my mind to do both practical and random things.
I’ve gathered a few stories and articles to share main points from below, but in doing this research, I’ve learned so much about the culture and community around cold water swimming. Across cool-weather climates globally, people meet to swim and put their bodies through challenges that most would never dream of. They swim because they’re overcoming something painful. They swim because they were told they’d never be able to. They swim because someone once told them they’d never be strong enough. They swim because they’re a little crazy and they love the feeling. They swim because they love the water and/or they love to swim, regardless of the conditions.
But why do we even do this?
The list truly goes on, but here are some top highlights:
When you expose your body to cold water repeatedly, you start to change the way that your body handles stress. They speculate that if our bodies are able to get comfortable with one type of stress, perhaps it will become better at the other types we face in daily life.
Even single-time situations create a “cold shock response” which can create feelings of elation that last 24-48 hours after the dip.
Increased libido, immune response, life expectancy, sleep quality, weight loss.
A sense of connection with nature and the profound and numerous benefits of time in water.
Better ability to connect with the present moment.
And if this is all the placebo effect, that’s a darn good response worth enjoying.
The more I dig, the more I recognize that there is a lot more to this and I want to call upon some of these experts to craft a local chapter of a legit swim club with intentionality. We’re going to take this slowly and carefully for the safety, enjoyment, and fullest extent of benefits available to us. We’ll determine what this “swimming” really looks like, are we staying in more than a few moments? Do we have to in order to get the benefits? Subscribe to our events or shoot me a note letting me know you’re interested.
Meditation & mindset work. The more you begin to master your own thoughts, the easier it is to keep your ego and stress response in check when it’s actually freaking out and in primal “we’re going to die” mode.