By: Blonde Two
You might imagine that getting out of a warm bed at six o’clock on a November’s morning to go swimming in the cold sea would be a chore. I have a feeling it should be, but in fact the opposite is true. On the mornings that I have a sea swimming plan (rather than a pool swimming plan) I am waking up earlier than six in a state of excited anticipation.
This really doesn’t make sense, even when I am going for a Dartmoor walk I find it a struggle to get out of bed early, especially if it is dark. It appears to be entirely possible that dunking yourself in cold water is addictive, with this in mind, I decided to investigate some cold water theories:
Scientists from the Czech Republic have found that regular cold water dips increase the number of bug-zapping white blood cells in your body. This is mostly because your body feels like it is under attack when you enter the water.
Cold water gives a stinging sensation which the body interprets as pain causing it to release endorphins. Endorphins make us feel pretty good.
I bet you didn’t know that you have a parasympathetic system. Well neither did I until I felt it being stimulated by cold water swimming (well until I started this research). The parasympathetic system is responsible for rest and repair and stimulating it also makes us feel good.
You almost certainly know what testosterone and oestrogen do, it is suggested that cold water dips can increase production of both of these and lead to… well I am not going to comment on that or on the results of my research on the subject.
Calories are the bane of my life; mainly because I like them so much. Prior to my research I had been worrying that my quick dips in the sea were perhaps not burning as many calories as my 1km swims in the pool. I’m not worrying any more because I remembered that trying to keep warm uses up calories.
Whatever the truth of these theories, you should really consider chatting to your doctor before you go jumping into icy water. There are medical conditions for which is isn’t recommended. The good news (or the bad news if you don’t like getting out of bed) is that you need to cold water swim regular to become acclimatised. With all that acclimatisation, I am going to be such a jolly Blonde!